Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Clerics seek AG’s consent for criminal contempt against Barabanki DM, SDM

- HT Correspond­ent letters@hindustant­imes.com

: Two Uttar Pradesh clerics have approached the state’s advocate general (AG), seeking consent for the initiation of criminal contempt proceeding­s against the Barabanki district magistrate (DM) and the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) for their alleged role in the demolition of a 100-year-old mosque at Ram Sanehi Ghat in Barabanki.

“Demolition of the 100-yearold mosque was sheer misuse of power and an attempt to hurt one’s religious sentiments. It was also a violation of high court orders not to take any such steps till May 31, following the Covid situation,” said Maulana Mohammed Faizan, imam of the Eidgah, Barabanki, who has sought consent from AG as part of the procedure to initiate criminal contempt against the administra­tive officers for their alleged role in the act.

On May 17, following the orders of the SDM’s court, the old mosque located adjacent to the tehsil premises and opposite the residence of the SDM was demolished amid heavy security. The mosque was registered in the records of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board.

Maulana Mohammed Faizan said the act of demolition came as a rude shock for him and for the people of the community who were offering “namaaz” there since ages.

“I don’t remember the time and date when the mosque— Gareeb Nawaaz — that was in the tehsil compound at Ram Sanehi Ghat, Barabanki, got constructe­d. What is known to all is that our father and grandfathe­r, too, had offered namaaz here and we too are offering namaaz here since ages. Hence, its demolition was a setback for all of us,” the maulana added.

Wasif Hasan, co-mutwalli (co-caretaker) of Teelay Wali Masjid in Lucknow, too, has sought consent from AG for the initiation of the criminal contempt which, he says, is a part of the procedure.

“Basically, there are two types of contempt of court in India. Criminal contempt is regarding anything that scandalise­s or lowers the image of the court. However, for a private individual to initiate criminal contempt requires consent of AG of state. It is for the same reason we have approached him,” said Wasif Hasan.

Besides, he blamed Barabanki administra­tion for misleading the public by saying that the demolition was as per high court orders.

Adarsh Singh, district magistrate of Barabanki, said he was not aware of any such developmen­ts.

The two clerics are being backed by the legal team of Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF), the trust which Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB) had formed to look after the constructi­on of the proposed project in Dhannipur village of Ayodhya on the five-acre land allocated in line with the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya title suit verdict.

“The act has badly affected our upcoming Dhannipur project, which is 20km from the site where the (Barabanki) mosque was demolished. Our project—under which a mosque, hospital, community kitchen, museum etc would come up—aims at bridging the communal and cultural difference­s. However, such acts often play spoilsport and create unpleasant environmen­t for the people. We believe people responsibl­e for creating such unpleasant situations should be punished. The maulanas will also be approachin­g the high court for initiation of civil contempt proceeding­s against the SDM for violating the high court orders,” said Athar Hussain, spokespers­on for IICF.

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