A case has been lodged at the Ramsanehi Ghat police station night under IPC sections including 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged), reports the Indian Express. The Barabanki Police, stated the news report, lodged a case on Thursday night against eight people “who were members of a committee”, this includes a former UP Sunni Central Waqf Board inspector, accusing them of “fraud and cheating” reportedly to get the mosque that was demolished registered as a Waqf property.
The Gareeb Nawaz Masjid that had existed peacefully in Ram Sanehi Ghat, a city in Barabanki, in Uttar Pradesh, for decades, was demolished earlier this week. The destruction of the Mosque was reportedly in violation of a High Court order that had said no action was to be taken till the end of May. This demolition has had a massive impact on the community in Uttar Pradesh, already a communally sensitive state. The Guardian had put the report under the global spotlight saying this is “one of the most inflammatory actions taken against a Muslim place of worship since the demolition of the Babri Mosque by a mob of Hindu nationalist rioters in 1992.”
While the district administration continues to maintain that the mosque was an “illegal construction”, it is on the records of the Sunni Central Waqf Board documents as ‘Tehsil Masjid’ for the last six decades, reported the BBC. Those in charge of the mosque told the media that it is even older, as the record books came into existence much later than the structure. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board has called the administration’s action illegal, and is likely to challenge it in the High Court, stated the news report.
However, according to the Indian Express report, now the Ramsanehi Ghat Station House Officer (SHO) Sachidanand Rai said that those named in the FIR had “fraudulently got a structure in the tehsil premises registered as a Waqf property” adding that. “In order to do so, they had formed a committee.” The FIR names committee president Mushtaq Ali, vice president Waqeel Ahmad, secretary Mohamad Aneesh, members Dastageer, Afzaal, Mohammad Naseem, and then UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Inspector Mohammad Taha stated the IE, adding that according to the complaint lodged by District Minority Welfare Officer Sonu Kumar, the alleged “fraudulent registration” was done in 2019.
The IE quotes from the complaint: “This is to bring to your notice that these people formed a committee and then through cheating and fraud got a structure registered as a Waqf property on January 5, 2019. The structure is within the Ramsanehi Ghat tehsil and is opposite the SDM residence… These facts have come to light in a probe done by Tehsildar Ramsnehi Ghat. This was done under a conspiracy, which included these people and also then UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Inspector Mohammad Taha.”
Meanwhile, the Sunni Central Waqf Board has already stated that it will move the High Court demanding “restoration of the mosque, a high level judicial inquiry and action against the guilty officials”.