Mohammed Ali Shabbir

Congress asks KCR to prove Secretariat mosques are not re-located

  • Shabbir Ali writes open letter to CM KCR seeking clarification on reconstruction of two mosques
  • KCR will be remembered forever for demolition of mosques, temple: Shabbir
  • Congress threaten agitation for restoration of Secretariat mosques, temple at original sites

Hyderabad, December 8, 2021: Former Minister & ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir demanded that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao furnish proof that the two mosques in the Secretariat premises – Masjid-e-Moatamadi and Masjid-e- Hashmi are being reconstructed at their original sites and not relocated.

Addressing a press conference in Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday, Shabbir Ali released a letter to the Chief Minister which he has written seeking immediate clarification regarding the site for reconstruction of two demolished in the Secretariat premises. He said there were serious doubts over the exact location of the mosques, whose foundation stone for the reconstruction was laid on 25th November. He said that if KCR fails to issue a clarification within 15 days, the Congress party would explore all legal and other democratic means to get justice. “We will lodge a criminal complaint against the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary for violating the provisions of Places of Worship Act, 1991 and other relevant laws,” he said.

“The demolition of two Secretariat mosques on the intervening night of 7th-8th July, 2020 was illegal. You reacted on the issue on 10th July, 2020, claiming that partial damage had occurred to the religious structures due to falling debris from other structures. While expressing regret, you had assured to carry out repairs on all the three places of worship soon. Your statement proved to be a blatant lie as three days later the authorities told the High Court that all three buildings had been razed to the ground,” Shabbir Ali said in his letter to CM KCR.

Shabbir Ali said that the demolition of places of worship in the Secretariat was a crime and an open violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which says that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day. Further, the land where the mosques existed was a Wakf property and not owned by the State Government although they were located in the Secretariat premises. Therefore, their demolition amounted to trespass and encroachment, he said.

The Congress leader alleged that when leaders of the Congress party and other organisations lodged a complaint against the demolitions, the local police, i.e., Saifabad Police Station refused to register a case. It was the duty of the police to issue an FIR on receipt of a complaint. By refusing to do so, the local police violated the guidelines of the Supreme Court, allegedly due to pressure from the Chief Minister’s office.

“CM KCR gave a series of fake assurances on the dates to begin the reconstruction of two mosques at the same site and never honoured his own words,” he alleged.

“After a series of lies and false assurances for over 16 months, the foundation stone for the reconstruction of two mosques was finally laid on November 25, 2021. But we strongly suspect that both the mosques are being relocated. The entire battle for Babri Masjid was for its original location where it existed from its construction in 1528-29 until its illegal demolition in December 1992. No Masjid can be relocated for whatever be the reason,” he said.

Shabbir Ali said that the programme for laying the foundation stone for reconstruction of demolished mosques was held as a private ceremony in a highly secret manner. This led to suspicion of foul play. “Only a few selected leaders, both religious and political, were invited for the ceremony just a few hours before the programme. All the religious and social leaders who launched agitation seeking reconstruction of these mosques were placed under house arrest till the end of the programme,” he alleged while objecting to the State Govt treating a place of worship as a restricted area.

He recalled that he had addressed a letter on 27th June, 2019, more than a year before the demolition, expressing apprehension that the mosques might be demolished and requested the Chief Minister to protect those places of worship. However, he said his request was ignored and what he feared a year ago proved right on 7th-8th July, 2020.

Shabbir Ali said he was highly pained over the demolition of Secretariat mosques. “As the then Cabinet Minister he had the privilege of laying the foundation stone for the reconstruction and renovation of both the mosques. The foundation stone for the Masjid-e-Hashmi near D-Block in the Secretariat was laid by (Late) Moulana Abdullah Qureshi Sahab, the then Imam of Mecca Masjid, and me on April 28, 2005. Another mosque near C-Block, Masjid-e-Dafatir Mohammadia, was part of Saifabad Palace, which was constructed on 25 acres of land by Sixth Nizam Mir Mehboob Ali Pasha during 1888 AD and it was later used as Dewan (Administrative Office). The foundation for reconstruction of this mosque was laid on December 31, 2008, by (Late) Moulana Mohammed Hameeduddin, Aquil Hussami Sahab and me. Its construction began on 8th May, 2009 and it was inaugurated on 9th September 2010 by Mufti Khaleef Ahmed, Ameer-e-Jamia Nizamia,” he recalled.

The Congress leader said that by demolishing the two mosques, CM KCR tried to erase those important chapters from the history of Hyderabad. “Your government has already committed the sin of demolishing three places of worship and now you are committing another offence of relocating them,” he alleged.

Shabbir Ali said that the Chief Minister’s absence from the foundation stone laying ceremony had increased the suspicion of relocation of the mosques. Further, if both the mosques are being reconstructed at their original location and were not part of the new Secretariat plan, then why were they razed to the ground in the first place? he asked.

The Congress leader said that the State Government could get easy access to satellite images and Google Maps to prove that the mosques were being re-constructed at the same site. “We request you to kindly place in the public domain, the comparative images of pre-July 2020 and now, to show that both the mosques are being re-constructed at the original sites,” he demanded.

“You are trying to erase the history of Muslims in Hyderabad and their contribution in nation building. Power is never eternal and it keeps switching sides. It is an established fact that those who tried to distort history have themselves become history within no time. You expect future generations to remember you for constructing a new Secretariat. building. But if you commit blunders like demolishing mosques and temples, then people will remember you as a destructor and not an architect. You still have time to undo the mistakes committed in the recent past and take corrective measures,” he advised KCR.

Congress senior leaders Md Afzaluddin, Uzma Shakir, Sameer Waliullah and Mateen Shareef were also present in the press conference.

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