800 years old Akhunji Masjid demolished in Delhi
NEW DELHI: (Web Desk) The Akhunji Masjid, a 13th-century mosque located in Mehrauli, approximately 400 meters from the historic Qutub Minar, was ruthlessly demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
The demolition of the mosque reflects the multifaceted challenges faced by societies in balancing development and heritage preservation. It underscores the need for thoughtful urban planning that respects historical landmarks. The controversy surrounding the Akhunji Masjid serves as a poignant chapter in the ongoing narrative of India’s dynamic cultural and architectural heritage.
The distressing and egregious disregard for human rights was tasked for the development of commercial land in the national capital. The DDA carried out the demolition without any prior notice, showcasing a shocking absence of transparency and respect for historical and religious heritage.
The demolition encompassed the Bahrul Uloom madrassa, a sanctuary for 25 children as well as a graveyard on the premises. The children, many of whom were orphans, were abruptly relocated to nearby woods, forced to endure the cold until the completion of the demolition drive.
The Akhunji Masjid was a testament to the architectural prowess and religious diversity of the region. It bore witness to the rise and fall of empires, silently chronicling the passage of time. However, in recent years, the mosque found itself entangled in a web of legal disputes and urban development conflicts.
The term “encroachment” emerged as a contentious point in the discourse surrounding the mosque. Some argued that the mosque had expanded beyond its original boundaries, encroaching on public space and hindering the city’s development plans. Proponents of its demolition contended that it was a necessary step for urban renewal and infrastructural development, citing the need for more accessible public spaces.
Muslims across the world have lamented the loss of the historical and cultural treasure that was not just a religious site; it was a symbol of India’s syncretic past, where different architectural styles and religious influences coexisted.
The legal battle over the Akhunji Masjid further intensified the controversy. Preservationists and heritage activists filed petitions to halt the demolition, arguing that the mosque deserved protection under heritage laws. They contended that demolishing such a structure without thorough documentation and assessment would erase a crucial part of Delhi’s architectural and cultural legacy.