Bengaluru: Hindu groups now demand demolition of Idgah Maidan tower

The demand comes just days after the Revenue Department claimed ownership of the maidan, which is also claimed by the Wakf Board.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Aug 10, 2022 | 1:45 PMUpdatedAug 10, 2022 | 1:45 PM

Chamarajpet Idgah Maidan.

Amid the controversy over the ownership of the Idgah Maidan in Bengaluru, several Hindu groups have demanded the demolition of the Idgah tower, terming it an “illegal construction” — a move that will only exacerbate tensions in the area.

They have also sought permission to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at the maidan that is also used by Muslims for namaz on special occasions.

The demands for the demolition of the tower — which indicates the direction in which the Muslims should face during prayer — come soon after Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Monday, 8 August, said that the Idgah Maidan belongs to Revenue Department.

“The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) order clearly states that the land belongs to the state’s Revenue Department and it has to decide its usage. We demand the tower be demolished as it is an illegal structure on the ground,” Hindu Janajagruti Samiti state spokesperson Mohan Gowda told South First.

“The tower covers approximately 100 square feet area and it will cause inconvenience to the public during gatherings. We have sought permission to celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri festivals on the ground,” he added.

Vishwa Sanatan Parishad president S Bhaskaran said, “We consider the BBMP’s decision as a victory and want to use the ground (Idgah Maidan) to celebrate Independence day, Kannada Rajyotsava and Hindu festivals.”

Bhaskaran added, “Vishwa Sanatan Parishad will submit a memorandum to Bengaluru urban deputy commissioner seeking permission to celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi at the ground.”

The Bengaluru Police have registered a case against Bhaskaran at Chamarjpet police station under IPC section 153B (Provocation with intent to cause riot) and 295A (for the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings).

The ground is usually used as a playground by children, with the Muslim community offering prayers there on Eid and Bakrid.

Flag hoisting at Idgah Maidan

Chamarajpet Congress legislator Zameer Ahmed Khan, while addressing a gathering, said, “Flag hoisting ceremony will be carried out in the ground campus during Independence Day, Republic Day and Kannada Rajyotsava. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will not be allowed in the Idgah Maidan.”

Karnataka’s BJP unit slammed Khan for his statement and termed it “feudal”.

The feud

The controversy over the Idgah Maidan started after a few Hindu groups in June this year claimed it to be a playground and wanted to organise events during festivals and national events.

Last month, Hindu Sanatan Parishad called a day’s bandh to force the government bodies to allow all events to be organised at Idgah Maidan.

The BBMP on 6 August stated that the property belongs to the Karnataka Revenue Department.

Waqf Board to take legal route

The Wakf Board, the custodian of Muslim community properties, has claimed the Idgah Maidan to be their property and said that it was preparing for a legal battle against BBMP and the Revenue Department.

Wakf Board chairman Shafi Saadi told South First: “We are approaching legal experts now as the Supreme Court had given a verdict in 1965 that Idgah Maidan is the property of the Wakf Board.”

“So, the Revenue Department claiming ownership of Idgah Maidan is not tenable and the order amounts to contempt of court.”