Allegation by BJP MP of illegal mosques false: Delhi Minorities Commission’s fact finding team

In a major embarrassment to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Delhi Minorities Commission’s (DMC) fact finding team has refuted the allegations by BJP MP Parvesh Verma of mushrooming of illegal mosques on government land in West Delhi. BJP MP from Delhi, Manoj Tiwari, had made similar allegations about other areas of Delhi.

Delhi Mosque

DMC released the report of its 5-member fact-finding committee, headed by human rights activist Ovais Sultan Khan, titled ‘The Legal Status of Religious Spaces in and around West Delhi’ on Thursday. The committee said the allegations targeted a particular community and tried to “disturb the communal harmony.” The committee also urged the DMC to lodge a complaint against the BJP MP with the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha as it is “clearly found that he has violated his oath of office.”

Last month, BJP MP Parvesh Verma had submitted a list of 54 mosques and graveyards, which allegedly existed in an unauthorised manner on government land across his constituency of West Delhi to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal. He had raised the issue earlier also and on June 24, the DMC set up a five-member fact-finding committee. 

The report was released at a press conference organised on Thursday. The committee head Ovais Sultan Khan said, “the BJP MP was selective in his outburst.” He also said they did not find any of the 54 mosques or graveyards on government land. He further added that they found a temple which was on a government land and the BJP MP’s posters were on it. Also, there were a lot of temples on government land and asked “why the selective outrage?”

DMC chairman Zafarul Islam Khan, said, “We understand it [the statement] was on communal lines. Election is coming and they want to talk about these things so that there is polarisation and increase in their vote bank.” 

The committee visited all the sites listed by the BJP MP and found that the list was made in such a hurry, to further the party’s communal agenda, that there was one name which was repeated and in eight locations, they could not locate any mosque.

The committee has given eight recommendations in its report and has asked to lodge an FIR against BJP MP Parvesh Verma for “spreading rumours against a particular community and trying to disturb peace and harmony in Delhi.”

“In view of the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi, there should be zero tolerance against those spreading hate and incitement to violence against particular communities,” another recommendation of the committee read.

The entire report can be read here.

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