Telangana leaders seek action in mosques demolition incident

Hyderabad: Prominent Muslim leaders of Telangana have demanded criminal action against those responsible for the demolition of two mosques in the old secretariat premises.

Reacting to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s statement expressing regret over the incident, the leaders led by AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said expressing regret alone is not enough and those responsible for the demolition should be brought to book.

The leaders in a joint statement said a First Information Report (FIR) should be registered against officials, departments and contractors responsible for the demolition of the mosques.

On the Chief Minister’s announcement that the mosque will be rebuilt in the secretariat premises, the leaders made it clear that they should be reconstructed at the same places where they stood earlier. They reiterated that the places of mosques never be changed.

The leaders targeted the State Waqf Board’s silence over the demolition of the mosques and for not taking any legal action after the incident.

They recalled that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had raised the issue of mosques in the previous session of the State Assembly and had urged the government to ensure their protection. Despite this, both the government and the Wakf Board showed their negligence.

Meanwhile, Waqf Board Chairman Mohammed Saleem welcomed the Chief Minister’s announcement to rebuild the mosque. He said the mosques suffered damage when the debris from the demolished structures fell on them. He also described the chief minister as a secular leader and said he did not believe in hurting religious sentiments.

Saleem’s statement came under sharp criticism from various Muslim groups, who held the Waqf Board responsible for the demolition.

Owaisi called for appointing a competent person as the Waqf Board chairman. “We have nothing against the current Chairperson, but the Board must be led by someone who can actually manage the many responsibilities & duties that come with the office of the Chairperson,” the MP tweeted.

He said the ruling party TRS was free to appoint their own person but due attention should be paid to their ability and skills. “Had a competent person been at the helm this issue wouldn’t have arisen. I am sure that it’ll not be difficult for the government to find a more capable person to appoint.”

The MP suggested the names of retired IPS officer A.K. Khan Aor Malik Motasim Khan for the post.

He said AIMIM would be submitting a draft amendment empowering Waqf Board with summary eviction powers similar to Hindu Endowment Boards.

Owaisi said after seeking appropriate legal opinion, the Chief Minister must consider superseding Telangana Wakf Board in the interest of protecting Waqf properties.

The MP said the CM’s statement was timely and demanded that he immediately call Muslim community leaders and scholars. “We’ll definitely come & reiterate our demand for both masjids at the place where they’re. The masjid is registered waqf properties as recorded in government Gazettes of the state.”