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Updated December 29th, 2023 at 18:27 IST

Delhi's Sunehri Masjid to be razed? Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind seeks PM Modi's intervention

Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind President Arshad Mehmood Madni wrote to PM Modi, seeking his intervention in the demolition notice served to Sunehri Bagh Masjid.

Harsha Chandwani
Jamiat Ulema E Hind seeks PM Modi's intervention in Sunehri Masjid demolition matter
Jamiat Ulema E Hind seeks PM Modi's intervention in Sunehri Masjid demolition matter | Image:Republic
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NEW DELHI: Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind President Arshad Mehmood Madni on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention in the demolition notice served to Sunehri Bagh Masjid located at a distance of about two kilometers from the Parliament. The mosque had received a notice from the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) officials, which claimed that the mosque's positioning was contributing to traffic jams, and congestion in the vicinity of Parliament: a prime location in the heart of the national capital – that is sensitive as several ministries are located there. The NDMC claims that it's pertinent to clear the roundabout at Jor Bagh, and that could only be possible with the demolishment of the Sunehri Masjid.

Madni, in a letter to PM Modi, stated that there is imminent threat to Masjid Sunheri Bagh, which has a deep historical relevance because it is a Grade-3 heritage building as per an October 2009 Notification. He further mentioned that the mosque was erected 200 years ago, and it caters to a large number of worshippers who work in nearby offices, and often visit the mosque to offer namaz. (daily prayers). “The mosque – with its profound historical significance stands as a testament to the nation's pluralistic ethos, and its existence is very crucial for our history, and therefore this demolition should not be carried out”, Madni asserted.

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Last week, the NDMC had put out a notice stating that the objections and suggestions of public in connection with the proposed demolition should be sent to the NDMC via mail. The notice was put up after Imams of the Sunheri Masjid objected to the proposal, calling it "intentional and arbitrary". So far, the NDMC has received over 600 suggestions via mail , and out of those, more than 90 percent echo the sentiment of anguish over demolition proposal. The suggestions will be factored in till January 1, after which the final decision will be taken by the NDMC.

The NDMC officials told Republic that seven months ago, a complaint was received from traffic commissioner stating that the traffic outside Udyog Bhawan and in the vicinity of Parliament is because of the mosque, and therefore it was imperative that the mosque be removed from the roundabout. The NDMC also claimed that the land on which Sunheri Masjid is built belongs to the government, and therefore the NDMC holds the power to raze the mosque. 

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When the NDMC apprised the Sunheri Masjid Imams about the proposal of demolition, and traffic concerns around it, the Imams and clerical staff of the mosque objected to the NDMC's claims, and called the move “Political”.

Speaking to Republic, historian Irfan Habib said: “The mosque is 200-years-old, and it has profound historical relevance. Several freedom fighters have stayed in the Sunheri Masjid mosque”, even as he asserted that “traffic congestion is a baseless reason for demolishment”.

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"In the last 40 years, I have not seen any congestion around that roundabout, then why is this being made into an issue now", Habib quipped.

 

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Published December 27th, 2023 at 16:32 IST

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