3 Years After Supreme Court Order, Construction Yet To Begin On Ayodhya's Mosque

3 years after the top court settled the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, there are no signs of any building activity on the proposed mosque site.

3 Years After Supreme Court Order, Construction Yet To Begin On Ayodhya's Mosque

The Ayodhya Development Authority is yet to approve the trust's proposal

Ayodhya:

Barbed-wire fencing and a board put up by the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation are the only indicators that a large mosque complex is set to come up at this spot in Dhannipur village near Ayodhya. 

The board bears an illustration of the proposed mosque for which the Supreme Court had ordered allocation of a five-acre plot.

But three years after the top court settled the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, there are no signs of any building activity on the proposed mosque site.

The Ayodhya Development Authority is yet to approve the trust's proposal. But the trust expects that this will now happen soon.

"We have submitted a detailed map of the proposed complex to Ayodhya Development Authority. Its clearance was earlier delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have now informed us that all the hurdles in the clearance of the map are being ironed out," Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Secretary Athar Hussain told PTI.

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation is a trust tasked by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board with the mosque's construction.

The Supreme Court's 2019 verdict paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the site where the 16th century Babri Masjid -- demolished by 'kar sevaks' on this day in 1992 - stood. It also ordered the allocation of a five-acre plot to the Muslim community for a new mosque.

A pothole-riddled road breaking off from the Lucknow-Faizabad highway leads to Dhannipur village, 16 km from the district headquarters.

Narrow roads lined with houses, a veterinary hospital and a new farmers' centre give way to the large vacant plot of land, demarcated for the mosque.

Until recently, the land was used for farming. It now has a 10-foot-high barbed wire fence running along the perimeter.

"Construction will progress as soon as the map is cleared. Till we get the clearance, it will be too early to tell anything about the timeline," Hussain said.

The trust was expecting clearance from the development authority by November-end to begin construction.

"We hope to get approval for the map of the proposed mosque, hospital, community kitchen, library and research centre by the end of this month. Soon after, we will start construction," Hussain had told PTI in mid-November.

Construction of the Dhannipur Ayodhya Mosque is likely to be completed by December 2023 while the remaining structures on the five-acre Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Complex will subsequently come up, he had said.

At that time, Hussain said that during applications for a no-objection certificate from the fire department, it had objected to the narrow approach road.

The district administration was immediately informed, following which it completed the measurement of additional land to widen the approach road, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation secretary had said.

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation plans to build a 200-bed hospital, a community kitchen, a library with an archive of the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny along with a mosque at the site.

"All energy requirements of the proposed mosque will be met by solar power to highlight the message of responsibility towards nature," said Hussain.

When the land was allocated for the mosque, the villagers had hoped for a brighter future.

Mohammad Gamu (60), whose home overlooks the proposed site across the road, said, "I was born in this village like my father and forefathers. I built this house 15 years ago. We had hoped that my family's situation would improve after it was announced that the mosque would be built here. But nothing has been done in three years." Gamu's wife complained that she has not received any benefit of the PM Awas Yojana, Ujjwala scheme or the Kisan Samman Nidhi.

"Nobody in our family has a job and we work as labourers to earn a living. The construction of the mosque brought us some hope but now it seems that nothing will happen," she said.

The family members were hopeful that the new complex would bring visitors and they could set up a small business. They also expected a job for one family member at the complex.

"But not a single brick has been laid yet. By the time the mosque is completed, we may no longer be here," Gamu added.

Village head Jeet Bahadur Yadav said the prices of land soared following the announcement of the mosque complex's construction and property dealers were regularly visiting.

"Property dealers, both from the Ayodhya and nearby districts, frequent the village looking for property. Some villagers even entertain them but I don't think anybody is ready to sell their lands as of now," Yadav said.

"If people of the village get jobs, why will anybody sell their property and move out?" he asked.

But despite pessimism of several villagers, trust secretary Hussain remains confident.

"We are hopeful that we get the required clearance soon," he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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