Congress demands sedition case in Secretariat mosque, temple demolition

Hyderabad, July 10: The Congress party on Friday lodged a complaint with Hyderabad City Police demanding registration of sedition case against those who demolished places of worship in the Secretariat complex. However, the officials at the Saifabad Police Station refused to even accept the complaint saying they have directions from their superiors not to entertain any complaint related with the demolition of the Secretariat.

Hyderabad City Congress Committee (Minorities Department) Chairman Sameer Waliullah and TPCC Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin tried to lodge a complaint with the Saifabad Police Station stating that two mosques and one temple in the Secretariat were demolished at the instance of some officials without the knowledge of the State Government and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

Sameer Waliullah alleged that the intention of demolishing the places of worship was to create communal hatred and incite violence so as to destabilise the present government. Further, he said the demolition was illegal as it violated the provisions of Places of Worship Act. Therefore, he said that those responsible for demolition should be booked for hurting the religious sentiments, inciting communal hatred and violence, creating animosity between different communities and de-stabilise the present government.

“The Government of Telangana has started the demolition of Secretariat on the intervening night of 7th and 8th July, 2020 without any notice. The Secretariat complex houses many heritage buildings including two mosques – the Masjid Dafaatir-e-Muatamadi, adjacent to the C Block and Masjid-e-Hashmi, situated near the D Block. One temple Nalla Pochamma Temple was located opposite to C Block. One mosque was built during the Qutub Shahi regime. As per the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day. Anyone who defies the bar on conversion of the status of a place of worship is liable to be prosecuted. The Act provides for imprisonment up to three years and a fine for anyone contravening the prohibition. Those abetting or participating in a criminal conspiracy to commit this offence will also be punished to the same extent, even if the offence is not committed in consequence of such abetment or as part of the conspiracy,” Sameer said in his complaint.

TPCC Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin said that the entry of media and common people in and around the Secretariat has been strictly restricted since the midnight of 7-8th July, 2020. However, quoting sources, many newspapers have reported that two mosques and one temple have been demolished. However, referring to the statement issued by the Chief Minister on Friday, he said that CM KCR himself has confirmed the demolition of places of worship without his knowledge and also expressed regret and pain over the incident.

“The Chief Minister’s statement clearly suggests that the demolition of places of worship was carried out without the knowledge of the State Government and the Chief Minister. Therefore, it aggravates the intensity of the offence. It was done deliberately on the instructions of a few unidentified officials to hurt the religious feelings, incite communal hatred, create animosity among different communities besides disturbing the Law & Order situation so as to destabilize the present government. This was an act of sedition,” Nizamuddin claimed.

Requesting the Hyderabad Police to register a case, they demanded investigation to identify those who conspired the demolition, issued orders and those who executed those orders.

However, the officials at Saifabad Police Station refused to accept the complaint stating that it might anger their superiors. The Congress leaders warned that he would approach the court if their complaint was not accepted as it is mandatory for the police to accept a complaint and issue preliminary FIR. “This is not democracy, but pure dictatorship where citizens are being denied their right to lodge a complaint. We will continue our fight to restore democracy in Telangana,” they said.

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