Sunni board to move court against razing of mosque by UP govt

Lucknow: The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has said that it will soon approach the Allahabad High Court demanding restoration of a mosque that was razed earlier this week and a high-level judicial inquiry and action against the officers concerned.

Controversy broke out after the demolition of a decades-old mosque in Ram Sanehi Ghat tehsil area of Barabanki on Monday amid police deployment.

The tehsil is located on a highway on the Barabanki-Ayodhya border.

Barabanki district magistrate Adarsh Singh said the structure was constructed illegally on government land by unidentified people who escaped when a notice was sent on March 15.

The administration took possession of the structure on March 18 and it was demolished that day itself after due orders from the sub-divisional magistrate’s court, he added.

Muslim groups are saying it was the illegal razing of a mosque.

“It is high-handedness of the local administration,” said Sunni board chairman Zufar Ahmad Faruqi.

A Barabanki resident and lawyer, Iqbal Naseem Nomani Dariyabadi, said he was offering namaz at the mosque for the past three decades.

Dariyabadi said he was unable to understand the motive behind the hurried action during the pandemic.

A district official said the ‘illegal structure’ was first flagged during a verification drive in March. “Three people living there escaped when asked to show their identity proof,” he added.

In a video, Barabanki District Magistrate Adarsh Singh called the demolished structure as a “residential place that was constructed illegally” on the tehsil premises in front of the house of SDM (Ram Sanehi Ghat).

“The occupants escaped from there when a notice was sent to them to prove their ownership on March 15, 2021. The administration took possession of the structure on March 18, 2021,” he added.

The Sunni Board claimed in a statement that it was a ‘100-year-old mosque’.