Guj HC seeks explanation over encroachment

Guj HC issued notices to state archaeology department and municipal authorities seeking explanation on encroachments around the historical sites.

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court Wednesday issued notices to the state archaeology department as well as the municipal authorities here and sought explanation on why all encroachments around the historical and archaeological sites in the city should not be demolished immediately.

Managing Trustee of Isan Malik Namaji Committee, Amjad Hussain Shaikh has filed a petition objecting the encroachment around the historical `Isan Malik Mosque`, which has been declared as a protected monument by the state government under the provisions of the Gujarat Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Sites & Remains Act, 1965.

"Isan Malik Mosque not only signifies the historical values but it also has the name `Isanpur` for a whole area of Ahmedabad city with significant population," said advocate Aniruddh Mavalankar, who represents petitioner in the court.

As per the petitioners, there are almost 19 shops and other illegal constructions, erected in such a way that has not only blocked the entrance of the mosque, but has also raised fears that the protected monument could be damaged.

The petitioner had further stated that under the Gujarat Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains Act, 1965 the adjacent area of the protected monument is considered prohibited or restricted area for the construction, erection or execution of building.

"In 2002 post-Godhra riots, this mosque was damaged and worshippers stayed away from offering Namaz here. Then councillor Govind Thakor took advantage of the deserted site and constructed some shops and later others also followed him," alleged the petitioner.

"We have demanded the demolition of illegal construction and clear the historical site from the dangers of damage and defacement," said Mavalankar.

Taking serious note of the encroachment, Justice R M Chhaya had issued notice to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Director of Department of Archaeology, Gujarat and ordered them to file a reply by September 20, the day when further hearing will take place.