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By Syed Ali Mujtaba, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: The Gebansha Dargah at the Majewadi Gate in Junagadh, Gujarat, is safe and no damage has been done to the Islamic shrine. A high drama followed when the police went for an attempted demolition drive on June 16.
The Junagadh municipal corporation, as a part of its anti-encroachment drive, has been sending notices to mosques and Islamic shrines in the districts to produce the papers or face demolition.
It is this connection; the corporation on June 14 sent a notice to the administration of the Gebansha Dargah at the Majewadi Gate, demanding to produce ownership papers of the property before June 19.
The municipal corporation issued notice for the demolition of a dargah saying that it was on the government land. The Dargah administration submitted the ownership documents of the Dargah after receiving the notice from the municipal corporation.
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The documents state that the shrine was initially laid in 1938, and was registered when the region was a part of the Junagadh Princely state. The document further shows that the dargah was registered under the Gujarat State Waqf Board in 2016.
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However, it was on June 16, around 10 pm, a high drama followed after the police surrounded the Dargah for its possible demolition. In response at least 500 Muslims gathered around the Dargah stirring tensions and stone pelting. The police resorted to lathi-charge and used tear gas shells to break the protest.
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In the aftermath, a horrifying video has surfaced where six Muslim men were seen being flogged outside the Dargah, and a man is seen collapsing in pain at the end. The videos show a few Muslim men being made to stand in a line, with a masked man flogging them right outside the shrine. The flogger took intervals to beat them, amidst loud screams from the victims.
Police also raided Muslims’ homes and they created chaos in the vicinity of the Dargah to look for the protestors. Many locals have shared videos and photos of their damaged homes and held the Police responsible for it.
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Some Advocates who are dealing with Waqf property cases say it was a targeted case it was an Islamic structure and all this anti-encroachment drive is humbug. They said the municipal corporation continues to send such notices and even before they expire they demolish the structures, many such petitions are pending in the Gujarat High Court.
In this regard, the Gujarat high court had issued a notice to the Junagadh District collector and the municipal commissioner over a petition filed by a Muslim trust seeking direction to the authorities not to demolish shrines and graves situated in the ancient Upper-kot Fort of the town under the redevelopment and restoration project.
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The direction was issued by the HC after complaints about the demolition of a century-old shrine named Jangal-shah Pir Dargah situated at the Narsinh Mehta Lake outside the Upper Kot on April 13.
The HC issued the direction apprehending demolition as many dargahs and temples are situated in the ancient fort dating back to the Mughal Empire.
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