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Land ownership plea not related to Dhannipur, says official

The official says that the issue is of a land in Shekpur Jafar

dhannipur-mosque Design of the proposed Dhannipur Mosque complex

The land for the Dhannipur mosque complex in Ayodhya, which was the subject of a recent petition, has been given an all-clear by the local land consolidation officer who said that the petition does not relate to the land in Dhannipur at all. 

The officer, Rajesh Pandey, said that the issue is of a land in Shekpur Jafar—a neighbouring village of Dhannipur. 

Five acres of land had been allotted by the state government to the All India Sunni Central Waqf Board in pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision on the Ayodhya Title Suit in November 2019. 

On Wednesday a petition had been filed before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court by two Delhi based sisters Rani Kapoor Punjabi and Rama Rani Punjabi. The duo had claimed ownership of the five-acre land claiming that their father had bought it but his name had been expunged from the land records. 

Pandey said on Friday that a reply would be filed in the High Court on February 8 when the matter comes up for hearing. “We cannot say at the moment how and why the confusion regarding the land ownership has cropped up. There are documents to support our contention”, he said. 

The sisters had claimed that their parents came from Punjab in Pakistan to Faizabad (now Ayodhya). Their father, Gyan Chandra Punjabi, had later been employed with the Nazul department. He had gained a land deed for 28 acres of land for Rs 1,560 in Dhannipur village (Sohawal tehsil). Though his name was part of the records, the land continued to be used by those who had held it earlier. Later, their father’s name was also expunged from the local land records, following which a dispute was filed before the local land consolidation officer.

The spokesperson of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, the body that has been formed to oversee what is now named the Dhannipur mosque complex, Athar Husian had expressed confidence that it would be highly unlikely that the land offered by the state government could be disputed. “The land was given at the directions of the Honourable Supreme Court. We have no reason to believe that the administration would have given land which was disputed in any manner,” he told THE WEEK. 

The plan for the mosque complex, which include a 200 bed multi-speciality hospital, an archive, a publishing house and a community kitchen among other entities, was revealed recently.

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