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Delhi High Court asks police to remove barricades from entrance of the mosque

NEW DELHI—In order to ensure devotees are not obstructed, the Delhi High Court has asked police to ensure barricades are erected on the road well away from the entrance of the 130-year-old mosque on Rao Tula Ram Marg in the Cantonment area.

“The police shall ensure that the barricades are erected on the road at least 10 metres prior to the entrance of the mosque or ahead of the entrance of the mosque, so as to ensure that in front of the mosque, there is no obstruction for the devotees to enter through the gate of the mosque,” said a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh.

The court also said that the mosque administration will ensure that no crowd gathers at the shops outside, creating any obstruction to the commuters using the road, which is stated to be the exit from Vasant Vihar towards Gurugram.

The police shall also ensure that if there is any requirement to check vehicles, an adequate number of personnel are posted on the site so as to carry out the checking, either 10 metres before the vehicles enter the mosque or 10 meters after the gate of the mosque, without impeding the devotees from entering the mosque, it said.

The directions were passed in a petition filed by Mohd Jafar, Secretary of the Basant Nagar Mosque located on Rao Tula Ram Marg.

The plea states that in November last year, barricades were placed in front of the mosque’s entrance and three constables posted on picket duty, which is causing inconvenience to the devotees in accessing the gate of the mosque.

In its response to the plea, the Waqf Board informed the court that its counsel Wajeeh Shafiq himself visited the spot on September 17 and found that the police has placed three barricades to slow down the incoming traffic for the purpose of checking.

“At the time of his visit, the barricades were manned by two armed policemen and according to him, the checking starts in the afternoon and continues till midnight and thereafter the barricades are removed, but placed in front of the gate of the mosque,” its affidavit stated.

On the other hand, the Delhi Police has told the bench that it has placed barricades, but these do not block the entrance to the mosque.

Advocate Sanjay Diwan, appearing for police, said: “There were some PCR calls on this stretch of Rao Tula Ram Marg, with incidents of snatching, and robberies and accidents being reported.”

The police found that the traffic which comes out from Vasant Vihar and is bound for Gurugram was exiting the area without any checking, and as the mosque is located in an isolated area, the barricades were put up there, he added.

Following these submissions, the court noted that there seems to be some variance between the version being given by the police, and the Google Earth images which have been placed on record.

“Even going by the Google Earth images, the barricades have been placed in a zig-zag or staggered manner so as to ensure that each and every vehicle entering the mosque can be checked,” the court said, adding that the photographs placed by the police, however, show that the barricades are beyond the mosque’s entrance.

-IANS

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