Congress wants Wakf Board members booked for Secretariat mosques demolition

Hyderabad: Taking its agitation against the demolition of two mosques and a temple in the Secretariat to the next level, the Congress leaders staged a symbolic dharna before the office of Telangana State Wakf Board at Haj House, Nampally on Thursday and later lodged a police complaint against Wakf Board Chairman Mohammed Saleem and other members of the Board.

Led by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail, senior leaders including Hyderabad City Congress President M. Anjan Kumar Yadav, TPCC Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin, Hyderabad Minorities Dept Chairman Sameer Waliullah, Nampally Incharge Feroz Khan and others staged a symbolic dharna at the Haj House. They were holding placards with slogans condemning the demolition of Secretariat mosques and inaction by the Wakf Board. They also raised slogans against TRS Government and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao holding them responsible for the demolition. 

Later, they lodged a complaint at the Abids Police Station seeking action against Wakf Board Chairman Mohammed Saleem and Board Members Syed Akber Nizamuddin Hussain, Malik Motasim Khan, Dr. Syed Nisar Hussain, Adv Waheed Ahmed and others. “The Secretariat mosques are notified under the Gazette of Andhra Pradesh on 01-07-1982, in Sl. No.158. Thereby the custodian of the mosques is the Telangana State Wakf Board represented by its chairman Mohammed Saleem. Therefore, the Wakf Board Chairman and other members are collectively responsible for the demolitions. By doing so, they indulged in creating improbability, criminal negligence, criminal conspiracy, hurting religious feelings, inciting communal hatred and violence against the Muslim community,” Abdullah Sohail said in the complaint lodged with the police. 

Speaking to media persons later, Abdullah Sohail said that Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Wakf Board Chairman Saleem should be the prime accused in the case as both colluded to demolish the two mosques in the Secretariat Dafatir-e-Mohammedi adjacent to C Block and Masjid-e-Hashmi, situated near by D Block. He said that both the mosques were built during the Nizam’s Era. While the Chief Secretary is responsible for not following the due procedure in demolition of Secretariat, the Wakf Board Chairman and its members failed to protect the mosques in violation of the Central Waqf Act. The mosques, which were under the care and custody of Telangana Waqf Board, were intentionally demolished by the Chief Secretary and encroached upon the land of the Masaajid with an intention to reconstruct the Secretariat Building,” he alleged.

“Neither the State Government nor the Waqf Board has given any explanation to the general public of sudden demolition of Masaajid. “The Waqf Board so far has neither instituted any proceedings before the Waqf Tribunal or challenging the illegitimate authority of the government without initiating any lawful proceedings for acquiring the land of the demolished Masaajid, though the acts of the government is arbitrator illegal and acted in collusion with Telangana State Wakf Board and its chairman,” he said in the complaint lodged with the police. “They are not coming forward with any suitable explanations to satisfy the Muslim community. The attitude and silence of the board and its members reveals a lot of untold stories of their cannibalisms,” he said.

Abdullah Sohail also pointed out that the demolition of mosques and a temple in the Secretariat was a violation of Places of Worship Act. He also pointed out that the Chief Minister issued a statement on 10-07-2020 confirming the demolition of places of worship. The Chief Minister gave an assurance on their reconstruction, but did not specify the place where the two mosques and a temple would be re-constructed. “While the demolition of mosques and temple was illegal, it will be another crime to shift their locations,” he said. 

“By carrying out demolition of mosques and a temple, CM KCR tried to create disturbance and unrest in the minority community. The acts of the Waqf Board Chairman and other members are criminal in nature as they failed to protect the sanctity of mosques, its infrastructure and movables i.e., prayers rugs, Arabic literature and Holy Quran which were in a lot of numbers. Their acts also amount to cheating the Muslim Community, creating unrest and nuisance in the community, hurting the religious feelings dividing the society and damaging the status of State Waqf Board and confidence of the Muslim Community,” he said. 

Therefore, the Congress leader urged the police to register cases against the Wakf Board Chairman and other members and take up investigation.