Hyderabad: Political intervention seems to be the main obstruction in the acquisition of the land adjacent to the historic Macca Masjid, known as Muhajireen Camp.
More than two years have elapsed, but proposals for reallocation of the land of Muhajireen Camp for parking space have not materialised.
According to records, in the year 1920, a piece of land admeasuring 344.16 sq. yards, which belonged to Devdi Nawab Nusrath Jung was left abandoned adjacent to the northern side of the Macca Masjid, was acquired for parking of vehicles, tongas, buggies and shakrams of the visitors to the Court of the ruler. The cost of the land was paid by the erstwhile Asif Jahi officials.
Later, when Nawab Barq Jung planned to sell the land of ‘Barq Mansion’ by way of plotting and carved out 16 plots by leaving 30- foot roads along the plots, the erstwhile government also purchased the total number of plots along with the roads to an extent of 5,707 sq. yards.
Before the annexation of Hyderabad State by the Indian Union, due to insurrections on the borders, people moved to Hyderabad, the capital.
They were rehabilitated on various locations in the city and Muhajireen Camp was one of them.
The parking yard of the Macca Masjid was also given temporarily and provided shelter to the Muhajireen (refugees). Sarf-e-Khas had erected temporary tin sheds, constructed lavatories and allotted small spaces to 159 Muhajireen. This area at that time was called “huts”.
After Hyderabad was merged into the Indian Union and the situation returned to normal, most of them either returned to their hometowns or shifted to other places. Some of the original Muhajireen had handed over the possession of their huts to others on one-time payment, while a few of them let out the space at higher rent. The present occupants are paying `50 per hut on the names of original tenants.
Most of the present dwellers are not those who had migrated and were rehabilitated by the then government. According to an official communiqué, out of 159 original Muhajireen, at present, not more than 10 per cent are alive and the inhabitants of the Camp are not the original tenants and not a single tenancy has been transferred on the names of their heirs.
Some of the dwellers had constructed RCC houses and shops illegally by acquiring the adjacent 2-3 spaces of the leftover huts. None of the authorities of the Macca Masjid, Minority Welfare, Wakf Board and the GHMC had been approached by them for changing the nature of the dwelling units.
Surprisingly, the door numbers of the houses are self-designated since there is no record in the ward office of the GHMC. They are not paying property taxes on the pretext of it being a religious property, but, the residents have been enjoying all the civic amenities provided by civic bodies.
It has been revealed that most of the dwellers are not paying rent regularly. In the year 2016, the dues of `50 per hut amounted to more than `6 lakh.
The erstwhile government had entrusted the maintenance and administration of the two Mosques, i.e. Macca Masjid and Shahi Masjid (public garden) to the government and the Umoor-e- Mazhabi department was responsible for it.
Simultaneously both the mosques and their properties were registered as Wakf Properties. Earlier, both mosques were under the direct administration of the Hindu Endowment Department and in the year 1996, the then government transferred the responsibilities of both mosques to the Minority Welfare Department.
Most dwellers despite being tenants have been enjoying the possession of the huts as owners by constructing RCC houses. The government is not interested in resolving the issue.
According to the Superintendent of the Macca Masjid, Abdul Quadeer Siddiqui, after the bomb blast at the Macca Masjid in 2007, no vehicle has been allowed inside the Masjid premises keeping in mind security reasons.
The road in front of the main gate is notified as a ‘no parking’ zone. Many Muslims used to perform Jumma prayer in the Macca Masjid and there is no space to park cars. They have been facing a lot of trouble and many of them abandoned their habit of attending prayers at Macca Masjid.
He said two years ago he had sent a proposal for a Parking Complex for the people who come to pray in the land of Muhajireen Camp, which would solve the parking problem easily.
He said after acquiring the whole land, dwelling units could also be provided to the tenants of the Muhajireen Camp, if the government constructed a residential complex on the remaining part of the site.