Demolished mosque and displaced orphans in India

The 12-year-old enjoyed gazing at the trees, grass and leaves around the mosque in Delhi, the capital of India, where he studied and resided. Following the unexpected death of his parents, he relocated to this state two years ago from a nearby one. The Akhoondji Mosque in Delhi, which is thought to be at least 600 years old, together with the madrassa (religious institution) next door, was painted green, as were the joists, beams, and several archways. Looking at the familiar color gave Fawad a sense of security in a strange city. But now he claims it brings him to tears.


The mosque was razed on January 30 by the federally-run Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which claimed there had been unlawful encroachment. Along with it, the mosque complex’s madrassa, which housed Fawad and 25 other students, most of whom were orphans, was demolished, as was a nearby cemetery and a shrine dedicated to an Islamic mystic known as a Sufi saint. The region is brimming with ruins and monuments that tell the story of the city’s rich past. It is located in Mehrauli, one of Delhi’s seven ancient cities, nestled in Sanjay Van, a vast 784-acre forest. The DDA said in a statement that the mosque was destroyed “without any hindrance and disturbance” since it was an “illegal structure”.


However, Shams Khwaja, the mosque’s counsel, and Imam Zakir Hussain contest this, claiming that the site actually belonged to the Delhi Waqf Board, which is in charge of maintaining the city’s Islamic properties. According to Mr. Hussain, the authorities did not provide them with formal notice before tearing down the buildings. In addition, he claims that children were prevented from saving their possessions, that copies of the Quran were destroyed, and that property records proving the mosque’s legality were removed from them. Mr. Hussain claims, “They left us out in the cold with nothing but prayers.”

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