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Thousands offer Friday prayers at rediscovered Delhi mosque

Friday July 20, 2012 08:58:56 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Thousands gathered for Friday namaz at old Delhi's Subhash Park - the site where ruins of the historical Akbarabadi mosque were unearthed, even as the local legislator, campaigning for its reconstruction, said a panel has been set up to reach a negotiated settlement.

While the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has taken the land in its custody to stop construction of any new mosque, the area's legislative member Shoaib Iqbal said he has formed a committee to negotiate with the civic body.

Iqbal has been leading the construction of a new mosque on the lines of the remains discovered three weeks back.

"This is not illegal. We are just keeping faith of thousands of our brothers who believe in this historical religious mosque," Iqbal, the legislator from the Matia Mahal area in old Delhi, said ahead of the Friday prayers.

"We are not going to cause any law and order problem here. I am working with the NDMC to transfer the land in our custody," he added.

Built by Bibi Akbarabadi, one of the wives of then Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the mosque is considered the twin of Fatehpuri Masjid in Chandni Chowk. It is associated with the freedom movement of 1857 during which it was destroyed by the British.

The remains were discovered during Metro construction work in the area.

Meanwhile, a heavy police contingent was seen at every nook and corner of the old Delhi area to maintain law and order. Devotees, undeterred by the presence of police, started pouring in at noon to offer prayers.

"Volunteers have helped us build temporary sheds to protect the people from rain while offering namaz. Ramzan begins today, and people would come here to offer prayers everyday," an aide of Iqbal told IANS.

Women, accompanied by children, also turned up in heavy numbers to observe the prayers in progress that went on till 2 p.m.

The NDMC took possession of the sprawling piece of land Thursday and banned any further construction.

"We have taken possession of the land and a ban on construction and namaaz has been invoked. Local police are taking care of the law and order situation," an official from the civic agency said.

"The case has been referred to Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) and we are now waiting for its report," the official added.

Iqbal has deployed workers for carrying out digging work at the site to rebuild the mosque on the foundation of the remains even as the ASI had ordered a stop as the area falls in the regulated zone of world heritage site Red Fort where no construction work is permitted.


 

 

 





 

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