An illegal dargah in Mumbai’s Mahim was demolished on Thursday, a day after Raj Thackeray showed a video of the construction during his rally in Shivaji Park. Acting upon the video, city collector constituted a six-member team to inspect the spot and remove the encroachment.
Sources told News18 that it took two hours for the demolition to be completed. Some BMC and police officials also arrived at the bay site. The structure has been there for nearly two-and-a-half years, and people around are not calling it a ‘dargah’, sources added.
Mahim dargah trustee Suhail Khandwani said that at a distance of 100 meters from Mahim dargah, there is a “6×5 structure" on top of the water, which is about 600 years old.
“Makhdoom Shah used to get his education there. This place, which is called Chilla, is also registered in Waqf in 2007," Khandwani added. He further said, “There is no dargah nor there is any intention to make it like Haji Ali Dargah, it is a historical and respectable place."
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, in his Gudi Padwa address, on Wednesday played a clip and claimed that an ‘illegal dargah’ has come up off the Mahim coast in Mumbai.
“Whose dargah it is? Is it of a fish? It was not there a couple of years ago. “If the illegal construction is not demolished immediately, then we would construct a huge Ganpati temple at the same place," Raj Thackeray warned.
Later sharing the video on Twitter, MNS said that a ‘new Haji Ali’ is being prepared in the middle of the sea in broad daylight and yet the police and the municipality did not see it.
संपूर्ण व्हिडीओ : सन्मा. राजसाहेबांनी आज एक अत्यंत महत्त्वाची बाब समोर आणली… सरकारचं/प्रशासनाचं दुर्लक्ष झाल्यावर काय होतं ते पहा… माहीमच्या मगदूम बाबा दर्ग्याच्या इकडे समुद्रात हे अनधिकृत बांधकाम केलं. २ वर्षांपूर्वी हे काहीच नव्हतं. इथे नवीन हाजीअली तयार करणं सुरु आहे.… pic.twitter.com/BQ2CH1NmCb— MNS Adhikrut - मनसे अधिकृत (@mnsadhikrut) March 22, 2023
The video shows an island-like tiny piece of land near the coast with a few poles. It also showed a couple of people visiting the stretch, wading through the sea water and offering their respect. Raj Thackeray claimed that it was a ‘dargah’.
“I want to ask the Constitution-abiding Muslims of the country: Do you condone this? I don’t want to flex, but when needed I will have to do it,” Raj Thackeray said, adding that the ‘illegal dargah’ is near the dargah of Makhdum Baba in Mahim.
He has also called a meeting of MNS workers at his residence on Thursday to discuss the issue. As the issue snowballed, reactions started pouring in with BJP’s
Keshav Upadhyay asking what exactly happened during “champion of Hindutva", Uddhav Thackeray’s regime?
“Champions of Hindutva, @OfficeofUT and @rautsanjay61, what exactly happened when Thackeray was the chief minister? Yakub Menon’s grave beautified, trespassers stood in middle of the sea and Afzal Khan’s grave on encroached land in Mahim guarded," he tweeted in Marathi.
हिंदुत्वाचे गप्पा मारणारे @OfficeofUT व @rautsanjay61 प्रत्यक्षात ठाकरे मुख्यमंत्री असताना काय झाले?◾️याकुब मेननच्या कबरीवर सुशोभिकरण झाल -◾️माहिममध्ये समुद्रात अतिक्रमण उभे राहिले◾️ अफजलखानाच्या कबरीला सरंक्षण दिले#हे_यांचं_हिंदुत्व #बेगडी_हिंदुत्व— Keshav Upadhye (@keshavupadhye) March 23, 2023
Other BJP leaders also welcomed the move. Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis acted soon after Raj Thackeray brought the issue to notice.
Shiv Sena claimed that land mafia has been active in Maharashtra for the last five years. A minister was also involved in this serious scam in the state. Illegal deals have also been made, the party alleged.
Raj Thackeray also said he will renew his campaign to pull down loudspeakers from mosques if the states government does not take any action in the matter.
The MNS chief demanded withdrawal of nearly 17,000 cases slapped on his party workers last year when they launched protests seeking removal of loudspeakers from mosques.
Raj Thackeray praised veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar for his comments related to 26/11 attacks in Mumbai during his visit to Pakistan.
WATCH | ‘Shikayat Hindustani ke Dil Mein…’: In Lahore, Javed Akhtar Tells Pakistanis 26/11 Terrorists Still Roaming Free
Akhtar, who was in Pakistan for a festival in memory of celebrated Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz last month, said Pakistanis should not feel offended when India talks about the 2008 terror attacks.
“We are people from Mumbai, we have seen the attack on our city. They (attackers) did not come from Norway or Egypt. They are still roaming freely in your country. So if there is a grievance in the heart of a Hindustani, you should not feel offended,” the 78-year-old lyricist had said.
Read all the Latest Politics News here