Tension at excavated site: Dikshit blames civic agency

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 24, 2012 10:50 hrs

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has blamed the BJP-led municipal authority for the escalation of tension near a mosque at an excavated site near Jama Masjid, indicating that the civic agency should have "reacted better".

"The situation wouldn't have come to such a pass had north MCD reacted timely and better. They should not have allowed the construction (of mosque) in the first place. We cannot really do much about it as neither the MCD nor police are under us," Dikshit told IANS.

Ten policemen were Saturday injured in stone pelting by a mob after being denied access to the excavated site where a building's remains were found early this month during Delhi Metro work.

The violence, for which two people were arrested, came a day after thousands of Muslims offered Friday prayers near the site that falls under the area serviced by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation which is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Some area residents claimed that the excavated remains were that of the 17th century Akbarabadi Mosque.

Dikshit also appealed to the parties involved in the matter not to make it a communal affair.

"Certain outfits like the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) have jumped into it. Our plea still remains the same that don't make it a communal affair," she said talking to IANS.

"My sincere plea all along has been to take adequate protection and not allow anything which is legally not permissible," the chief minister added.

In the wake of tension mounting at the site, Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Tejinder Khanna held a meeting with all the stakeholders and appealed to people Monday to exercise restraint at the site.

He directed police and the municipal corporation to ensure that no congregation took place at the site.

Some people earlier started building a fresh mosque structure at the site but the Delhi High Court put a stop to it Friday directing the local authorities to hand over the area to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain whether the building remains were of an Mughal era structure.

Meanwhile, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) Monday moved the court seeking contempt of court proceedings against area legislator Shoaib Iqbal, the central government and Delhi's police chief for allegedly allowing illegal construction at the site.

Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw took note of the ABHM petition and posted the matter for Wednesday when the main matter will come up for hearing and police would submit a status report.

According to the ASI, the Akbarabadi mosque was built by Bibi Akbarabadi, one of the wives of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Apparently, the British destroyed it after the First War of Independence in 1857.

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