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The north Delhi civic agency Thursday told the Delhi High Court that police had failed to help it in removing illegal construction from the site of a purported mosque excavated near the historic Jama Masjid here.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation agency sought the direction of the court to the central government to provide paramilitary in case police failed to provide assistance for removal of the illegal structure.

The structure was allegedly built by legislator Shoaib Iqbal at the excavation site at Subhash Park, near the Jama Masjid, where the ruins of a purported 17th century mosque were unearthed.

The civic agency filed an application saying that police were not co-operative and blamed them for failing to comply with the court’s July 30 order for giving protection to the demolition team.

A special bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice M.L. Mehta reserved the order after hearing all the parties.

Police, who have been reluctant on the demolition on the grounds of apprehension of breach of peace, asked the court to keep its July 30 order on demolition in abeyance till the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) filed its final report on the remains of a building found at the excavation site.

Showing helplessness to provide force to the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi to remove the structure, as directed by the court, police earlier cited their pre-occupation with security arrangements in the month of Ramadan and ahead of the Independence Day.

The ASI sought more time to file the final report. It told the court that the illegal structure was required to be removed first for it to start the excavation at the site.

The ASI counsel told the court that IIT-Kanpur, which had been asked to carry out a ‘ground penetrating radar survey’ to detect the structure below the surface “had fixed Oct 20 to conduct the survey and after it completes the work, the ASI would file its final report by the month-end”.

Counsel appearing for Iqbal told the court that the structure was built by the locals but not at his instance and the court should pass any order after the ASI’s final report.

The court July 30 asked the ASI and the civic agency to remove the structure, and instructed police to provide protection to the demolition team.

The construction had come up over the purported ruins of another structure believed to be from the Mughal era. It had surfaced during the digging work for a Delhi Metro station.

The court handed over the site to the ASI to ascertain if the ruins were indeed the remains of the Akbarabadi mosque from the Mughal era.


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