New Delhi: The Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has announced it will form a ‘fact-finding committee’ to verify allegations by BJP leaders of ‘illegal mosques mushrooming’ in Delhi, and will “try to know religious places of all denominations built illegally on public land”.
In a letter dated June 24 and signed by DMC chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan, the Commission said: “Society and state should oppose illegal occupation of public space by anyone, religious or otherwise”, but “in a secular policy and state, we should not target any particular group or community.”
The announcement comes after BJP West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma wrote to Lt Governor of the city-state on June 18, demanding an enquiry into ‘illegal mushrooming of mosques’ on government land. President of Delhi BJP Manoj Tiwari too echoed the concern and called it a ‘serious issue’.
In his letter, Verma wrote, “I would like to apprise you regarding a peculiar type of trend seen in certain parts of my constituency (West Delhi) in particular but prevailing in whole Delhi, of mushrooming of mosques on government land, roads and secluded places.” According to Verma, “This menace of construction of mosques on above (said) places if not attended to on priority basis, will, in my opinion take any ugly shape which will be difficult to manage at later stage.”
The Commission called the allegations made by the BJP leader, “an attempt at polarization and vitiating the communal atmosphere ahead of the State Assembly elections.”
The fact-finding committee will be headed by human rights activist and DMC’s Muslim Advisory Committee member Ovais Sultan Khan, and include four other members. It will have to submit its report within ten days. The committee will visit public spaces of Parvesh Verma’s constituency and elsewhere in Delhi to check “religious places of all denominations built illegally on public land.”
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