Portion of mazar, temple razed for road widening in Delhi
Parts of the Shri Peepleshwar Balaji Mandir and Mamu Bhanje dargah were demolished during the exercise amid police presence
The outer wall of a mazar (shrine) and a Hanuman temple were removed by the Public Works Department (PWD) from Rani Jhansi Road in Jhandewalan as part of a road-widening work early Sunday morning.
Parts of the Shri Peepleshwar Balaji Mandir and Mamu Bhanje dargah were demolished during the exercise amid police presence.
In a notice issued to the mazar earlier on Friday, PWD said that the property was infringing on PWD land and hindering pedestrian movement.
“It is noticed that the above-mentioned property is identified as infringing on PWD road. Accordingly, whether this property is legitimately constructed, you are asked to submit relevant records by August 19, up to 3 pm,” said the notice pasted by executive engineer PWD on shrine premises.
Sajjada nashin mutawalli peer Wajid Khan, who looks after the management of the shrine, said that a notice was posted on the mazar’s wall on Friday. Khan said they approached a lawyer and handed their response to PWD officials in person on Saturday yet several parts of the mazar were broken. “A notice was pasted around 2pm on Friday. It said that the mazar was encroaching on PWD land. How is this even possible? The mazar is around 250-years old. It is among the 123 Waqf properties where proceedings are taking place in the court. Despite the matter being subjudice, they demolished the bathroom, the public washroom, and parts of the ablution centre (wuzu khana),” said Khan.
He added that PWD officials and police arrived in the area around 4am on Sunday morning and the demolition exercise continued till 8am. Khan said that the water pipeline along with the steps leading up to the shrine were demolished. “They have broken the stairs leading up to mazar. The outer wall was felled and even the water pipelines have been broken due to which devotees who come to the mosque to offer prayers are being inconvenienced,” said Khan.
A PWD official said that a notice was served to both the establishments. “The temple is likely to be relocated to nearby area. It is a part of overall road widening exercise to remove bottlenecks along the Rani Jhansi road on this arterial stretch and officials from other agencies revenue, corporation and police were present during the drive,” the official added.
Delhi Waqf Board officials confirmed that the property is part of the 123 properties, including mosques, mausoleums and graveyards, over which the board is engaged in a court battle with the Centre. The matter is currently pending in the high court. Delhi Waqf Board CEO and MLA Amanatullah Khan did not respond to calls and texts seeking response.
A few steps away from the mosque, the ramp outside the Shri Peepleshwar Balaji Mandir and the outer wall of the temple was also demolished.
Devi Prasad, pujari (temple caretaker), said that stairs outside the temple and a wall and other parts were demolished. “They demolished the gate and a wall. The temple is around 40 years also, but they are calling it an encroachment now,” said Prasad.