After the local municipal authorities in Kanpur city of Uttar Pradesh bulldozed Madrassa Islamiya Inter-College alleging that the buildings were partially constructed on government land, the Madrassa authorities have contended that the demolition of the buildings was illegally carried out without serving any prior notice to the Madrassa authorities.
“The motive behind the action is to incite communal tensions,” one of the administrators of the Madrassa said.
“Without serving any notice they ran bulldozers on our property,” he said, “They bulldozed the Masjid, desecrated the Qura’an, and also razed the masjid boundary.” He said the municipal authorities neither mapped the land nor served any notice before running the bulldozer.
The demolition drive was carried out on Wednesday, a day after Eid-ul-Fitr.
The administrator said that the officials were accompanied by the police. “We contacted the SDM who assured that the Madrassa will not be damaged and assured that he will come to the spot.”
However, the SDM did not turn up and the madrassa was razed.
The administrator said that they have legal documents of the ownership of the land and insisted to the officials check the documents before razing the property. “They did not listen and were unwilling to check the documents.”
Another official of the Madrassa said that the only reason for razing the Madrassa is that it is a Muslim property and Muslim students study here. “They think this is a Muslim institute and hence should be razed to the ground. All classrooms have been destroyed and it is a loss of around rupees 5-6 crores.”
He said that the Madrassa authorities reached out to many officials in the administration who assured them that nothing will happen to the Madrassa or the Masjid. “But, when the officials started bulldozing the property, the same administration officials did not receive the calls.”
The Kanpur administration, in the meanwhile, has maintained that the Madrassa buildings were partially constructed on government land. A senior official of the administration told TwoCircles.net.
The official also claimed that the madrasa was allotted 14 biswa (18,900 sq.ft) land of its own, but the building of the madrasa spawned over 4 bighas (1,08,000 sq.ft). Pucca construction was done by “illegally occupying” five bighas and six biswa of government land, which was used for a barn, pond, and a pond pit.
Meanwhile, the Madrassa administration has demanded a probe into the “illegal demolition” of the buildings and also sought action against the officials involved in the demolition drive.
A video also surfaced on social media showing people accusing the administration of desecrating the Quran as they were not allowed to salvage copies of the Quran and other books.
The Kanpur Police issued a statement on social media responding to the video, saying that the process of razing the Islamia secondary school was done in a “completely peaceful procedure.” The SDM of Ghatampur said, “No religious sentiments were hurt, and no holy books were desecrated. The entire procedure was carried out in a peaceful manner.”
According to media reports, the municipality had been planning to demolish the illegal construction for the last 1.5 years, but due to the non-availability of resources first and then elections, the work kept getting postponed.
In the year 1994, madrassa operators had got government land registered in their names by manipulating the revenue record, after which a lawsuit followed. In the year 2020, the land under dispute was reclaimed by the government. Since then, efforts were on to demolish the madrasa.