The Allahabad High Court has ordered the immediate removal of a mosque and a mazar illegally constructed inside the Chandrashekhar Azad Park at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. “We want the park free of all encroachments,” the Court said in its order while hearing a petition filed by petitioner Jitender Singh.
While passing the order, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Piyush Agarwal directed all illegal encroachments on this historic park that came up after 1975 must be removed within two days. The court further directed the Prayagraj district administration to submit a compliance report by October 8. This judgment will save the historic Chandrashekhar Azad Park (Alfred Park) where revolutionary freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad had last engaged the British government in a gun battle and sacrificed his life for the nation on 27 February 1931 when he was only 24 years old.
The petitioner had moved the petition through the senior advocate Hari Shankar Jain and brought the matter of the encroachment of this park to the notice of the court. He stated that the existence of this park is under threat as some members of the Muslim community have illegally constructed artificial graves and they are trying to convert a structure into a mosque. In this way, they want to convert the park into a graveyard and mosque, the petition had stated.
“The members of Muslim community in their usual manner of capturing the land for their religious purposes are trying to construct a mosque within the park area and some artificial mazaars (grave yards) have been created at the instance of fundamentalists and the patronage of Waqf Board,” the petitioner had said. The Petitioner also stated that no part of this park ever remained the property of the Waqt Board.
“That it is relevant to mention that no part of the park has ever been used as Waqf property either for the purposes of buying the dead, dargaah or mazar and no mosque was ever constructed or had been in existence in any manner. Even today no mosque is in existence. A building illegally raised is being tried to be converted into a mosque,” the petitioner had said. The petitioner had also submitted photographs of those illegal constructions.
The petitioner pointed out that this is not only the violation of the ‘UP Parks Playgrounds and Open Spaces Act, 1975’ but a place of historical importance is under threat. He made references to the Allahabad Master Plan, 1967-1991 which mentions Azad Park as the most important city park, having historical importance. The petitioner further said that on previous occasions also the court had ordered the demolition of illegal structures in this park spread over 133 acres. He made reference to a similar petition by one Arun Kumar Civil Misc. 19296/1986 in which the court had issued suitable order.