Army blocks pathway for civilians in JC Nagar

According to residents of the area, metal barricades were placed around the area around 11 am.

Bengaluru: The tension between the army personnel and local public over thoroughfare to a mosque near the Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC) in Kaval Byrasandra in J.C. Nagar worsened on Wednesday.

Army personnel locked down 8-10 rooms, including those of Imam and Mouzin, of the 113-year-old Lancer Masjid on Wednesday and blocked the way the civilians were using to reach the mosque.

As more civilians joined to protest, the army men started dumping mud and construction materials at the site and later formed a human chain around the area to prevent entry. This led to a heated argument between army personnel and civilians resulting in lathi charge and stone pelting.

The writ petition filed by the members 	(Photo:DC)The writ petition filed by the members (Photo:DC)

The issue was later resolved when MLAs Zameer Ahmed Khan and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy assured the people that talks would be held with the PRTC personnel, after which the crowd dispersed. Later the army personnel allowed the civilians to reach the mosque.

According to residents of the area, metal barricades were placed around the area around 11 am. “The barricades had stopped us even from attending our regular afternoon prayer sessions on Wednesday. The mosque should have been excluded from such a land dispute,” said Akram, a local resident.

The masjid’s committee members said that the PRTC on Saturday had issued a notice to the mosque and the Imam and mouzin to vacate the building as it was in part of defence land. On Wednesday, they locked mouzin’s wife inside their house.

The committee members said that the action by army personnel was a contempt of court order and said that they had filed a writ petition with the Karnataka High Court on Monday asking for a stay. They have asked the PRTC to wait until the court decision.

Speaking to DC, a protestor whose house was sealed late night on Tuesday alleged that army officials had continued to threaten them even after they were shown all documents related to the disputed area. “Even though we possess all necessary documents to prove ownership of the land, the army personnel are not ready to listen to us. They have continued to threaten us even after the high court ordering to maintain status quo on this issue,” he said.

He added that the eviction order from the army in such a short notice is something that needs to be nullified with immediate effect. “Eviction order was given to several shops around the area as well during the day,” he said.

The dispute over the 4.5 acres of land owned by the Waqf Board is not new and dates back to 1998. The ownership of the land, in which the 113-year-old masjid is located, was claimed by the PRTC and they demanded that the mosque management vacate the houses in 1998.

The mosque committee filed a case with the Waqf Tribunal against the PRTC’s attempts to take over the land. Later in 2011, the Waqf Board, in an order said that status quo must prevail. The case is still pending at the Waqf Tribunal.

The PRTC then moved the Karnataka HC, asking the case to be considered in a civilian court and not at the Waqf tribunal. The land remains disputed as the HC is to take a call on it.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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