New Delhi: The chairman of the Shia Waqf Board has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that Humayun’s Tomb, the 16th century monument built in the memory of Mughal emperor Humayun, be demolished to solve the problem of lack of graveyard space in the Capital.
President of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB), Wasim Rizvi, in his letter to the PM, has justified his call to demolish the tomb saying Humayun belonged to a sect that did not allow the construction of a tomb after someone's death.
Rizvi’s letter came after All India Raabta-e-Masajid Madaris-e-Islamia Co-ordinator Syed Ahmad Ali wrote to the Shia board chairman on October 15, asking him to provide land for burial of Muslims in NCR region “as burial was becoming impossible in Delhi anymore due to scarcity of land”.
"There is no such Islamic ruling which prohibits demolishing Humayun’s tomb, as the sect to which Humayun belonged, does not permit construction of tomb. The Board demands that Humayun’s tomb on Mathura Road, New Delhi be removed from the list of national monuments and be declared a burial ground for Muslims of Delhi after demolishing the building over the tomb (sic),’’ Rizvi wrote in his letter.
The Humayun’s Tomb complex is spread over an area of 35 acres. Rizvi argues that treating the property as a graveyard shouldn’t be a problem as it "already has a grave".
Rizvi, in his arguments, has cited a survey by the Board that says burial places for Muslims are scarce in the Capital.
"This is a serious problem that the Muslims in Delhi face as they have no place to bury the dead. The graveyard will be in interest of the Muslims," Rizvi said.
Rizvi has also observed in his letter that the government was not earning enough revenue from the monument.
Only recently had BJP MLA Sangeet Som attacked the other most famous piece of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal, as a “blot on Indian heritage” and called the Mughal emperors “traitors”.
However, Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, Executive President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said that such statements reek of "political motives".
"Such statement do not do justice to our religion. This will create further rift within the community. Thousands of tourists come to that place and such views end up looking politically motivated," said Mahali.
Recently, Rizvi also tried to provide a solution to the age-old Babri Masjid controversy saying the disputed site should be given away to build the Ram temple.
Zafaryab Jilani, advocate for AIMPLB in the Babri case and a member of the personal law board, said that it is "just an attempt by Rizvi to hog the limelight as it was legally impermissible."
"It is a heritage monument and the Supreme Court will never consider such a request. Moreover, he is a member of a board in UP, how can he make a statement on an issue in Delhi? There are enough Shia and Sunni members in Delhi and they have not raised any such demands," said Jilani.