The Northern Railway Administration has issued a notice to the administration of two historic mosques in Delhi, namely Bengali Market Masjid and Takiya Babbar Shah, located in ITO, demanding the removal of alleged encroachments on railway land.
The notice states that if the encroachments are not removed within 15 days, the railway administration will take action to dismantle the structures.
The mosques’ committee has asserted that both Bengali Market Masjid and Takiya Babbar Shah have stood for hundreds of years and hold immense historical and cultural significance.
According to Abdul Ghaffar, Secretary of Takiya Babbar Shah Mosque, their place of worship dates back approximately 400 years.
However, the Railways contend that the mosques were built on land belonging to the railway and are, therefore, considered illegal encroachments.
The notice sent to the mosque administrations and also to the nearby Malaria Office of MCD has warned of consequences if the encroachments are not voluntarily removed.
The notice reads: “Railway land has been illegally occupied. You must voluntarily remove the unauthorized building/temple/mosque/shrine constructed on the railway land within 15 days of this notice, failing which action will be taken by the railway administration. Illegal encroachments will be removed as per the provisions of the Railway Act. You will be solely responsible for any damages incurred in the process. Railway administration will not be responsible.”
The mosque committees are now facing a difficult decision as they seek to protect their places of worship while navigating the legal complexities of the land dispute with the railway authorities.
Community members and various religious organizations have voiced concern over the potential demolition of these ancient mosques, highlighting their cultural heritage and spiritual significance to the local community.