Why was an Islamic seminary in Kanpur bulldozed a day after Eid? – TwoCircles.net

Representative picture

Authorities said the seminary had illegally occupied some of the government land while the seminary authorities disputed the police claims.

muhammad raafi | TwoCircles.net

NEW DELHI- After local municipal authorities in the city of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, bulldozed Madrassa Islamiya Inter-College alleging that the buildings were partially constructed on government land, Madrassa authorities maintained that the demolition of the buildings had been illegally carried out without giving prior notice to the Madrassa authorities.

“The motive behind the action is to stir up communal tensions,” said one of the Madrassa administrators.

“Without giving any notice, they bulldozed our property,” he said, “They bulldozed the Masjid, desecrated the Quran and razed the boundaries of the Masjid.” He said city officials had neither mapped the terrain nor given notice before operating the bulldozer.

The demolition campaign took place on Wednesday, a day after Eid-ul-Fitr.

The administrator said the officials were accompanied by the police. “We contacted the SDM who assured that the Madrassa would not be damaged and assured that he would come to the spot.”

However, the SDM did not show up and the madrassa was razed to the ground.

The administrator said they had legal documents of ownership of the land and insisted that officials check the documents before razing the property. “They didn’t listen and didn’t want to check the documents.”

Another Madrassa official said the only reason to raze the Madrassa is that it is Muslim property and Muslim students study there. “They think it’s a Muslim institute so it should be razed. All the classrooms have been destroyed and it’s a loss of around Rs 5-6 crore.

He said the Madrassa authorities contacted many administration officials who assured them that nothing would happen to the Madrassa or the Masjid. “But when officials began bulldozing the property, the same administration officials did not take the calls.”

The Kanpur administration, on the other hand, maintained that the Madrassa buildings were partially constructed on government land. A senior administration official told TwoCircles.net.

The official also claimed that the madrasa was allocated 14 biswa (18,900 sq ft) of land, but the construction of the madrasa resulted in more than 4 bighas (1,08,000 sq ft). The construction of Pucca was achieved by “illegally occupying” five bighas and six biswa of government land, which was used for a barn, a pond and a pond pit.

Meanwhile, the Madrassa administration demanded an investigation into the “illegal demolition” of the buildings and also demanded action against officials involved in the demolition campaign.

A video also surfaced on social media showing people accusing the administration of desecrating the Quran because they were not allowed to collect copies of the Quran and other books.

Kanpur Police issued a statement on social media in response to the video, saying the process of shaving Islamia Secondary School was carried out in a “completely peaceful procedure”. The Ghatampur SDM said, “No religious feeling has been hurt and no holy book has been desecrated. The whole procedure was peaceful.

According to the media, the municipality had been planning to demolish the illegal construction for a year and a half, but due to the non-availability of resources first and then the elections, the work kept being postponed.

During 1994, madrassa operators had government land registered in their name by manipulating the revenue registry, after which a lawsuit ensued. In 2020, the disputed lands were recovered by the government. Since then, efforts have been made to demolish the madrasa.

Muhammad Raafi is a New Delhi-based journalist. He tweets at @MohammadRaafi


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