Bengaluru: Locals Clash With The Army Over Disputed Land Where 113-Year Old Mosque Is Located
August 31st, 2017
A few locals of Bengaluru’s Kaval Byrasandra, J C Nagar and Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC) personnel clashed on Wednesday, August 30, over a roadway to a mosque near PRTC.
Yesterday morning, the mosque was locked down by the army personnel who also entered and locked down the homes of the Imam and his attendant.
The News Minute reported that Aslam, a member of the Lancer Masjid committee said, “On Saturday (August 28), the PRTC had issued a notice to the mosque and the Imam and his attendant who live in homes right next to the mosque, stating that the land was defence property and hence they had to vacate. We had filed a writ petition with the Karnataka High Court on Monday asking for a stay and had asked the PRTC to wait until the court either granted or rejected the plea.”
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a protestor whose house was sealed late night on Tuesday alleged that army officials had continued to threaten them even after they were shown all documents related to the disputed area. “Even though we possess all necessary documents to prove ownership of the land, the army personnel are not ready to listen to us. They have continued to threaten us even after the high court ordering to maintain status quo on this issue,” he said.
The committee members claimed that the PRTC did not wait for court order and locked down the premises, blocking the way for the civilians to reach the mosque and locking down the attendant’s wife inside the home.
Subsequently, an even larger group of civilians joined to protest and the army men started dumping mud and construction materials at the site. They later formed a human chain around the area to prevent people from entering. This agitated the argument further and resulted in lathi charging and stone pelting, reported Deccan Chronicle.
The committee members alleged that by the time the mosque was on a lockdown, about 200 people were already inside it.
“We did not budge and sat down in silent protest. The PRTC subordinates kept telling their senior to pass the order and they would ensure that the place is shut down. The subordinates were willing to go to any extent to shut down the mosque. But the senior officials, who knew that the situation would escalate, told them to stand down,” Aslam added, reported The News Minute.
According to residents of the area, metal barricades were placed around the area around 11 am. “The barricades had stopped us even from attending our regular afternoon prayer sessions on Wednesday. The mosque should have been excluded from such a land dispute,” said Akram, a local resident.
The issue was later resolved when MLAs Zameer Ahmed Khan and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy assured the people of talks with the PRTC personnel. This made the crowd disperse and the army later allowed the civilians to reach the mosque.
The dispute over the mosque is not new and dates back to 1998. The 4.5 acre land, owned by the Waqf Board, where the 113-year-old mosque is located, was claimed by the PRTC and they demanded that its management vacate the house in 1998. The mosque committee filed a case with the Waqf Board Tribunal against the PRTC’s attempts to take over the land and in 2011, the board said that the status quo must prevail. The case is still pending with the Board.
Subsequently, the PRTC moved the Karnataka High Court, asking the case to be considered in a civil court and not the Waqf tribunal. The land remains disputed as the HC’s verdict remains pending.