Historic Mosque Masjid Akhonji Demolished in New Delhi

In a move that has ignited widespread controversy, the Masjid Akhonji, a mosque believed to be around 600 years old located in New Delhi’s affluent Mehrauli neighborhood, was razed to the ground. This demolition was part of a broader initiative by city authorities to eliminate “illegal” constructions within a designated forest reserve. However, this action has raised significant concerns due to the mosque’s historical value and the lack of prior notice given to its managing committee.

Mohammad Zaffar, a committee member, expressed his shock and dismay, stating that the demolition was executed “in the dark of the night,” leaving no opportunity to salvage religious texts or other valuable items from the mosque. Furthermore, the destruction extended to the desecration of numerous graves within the mosque’s compound, erasing the final resting places of many revered figures and ancestors.

The timing of this demolition is particularly sensitive, coinciding with a heightened push by nationalist activists to replace key mosques with Hindu temples across India. This campaign recently saw the inauguration of a new Hindu temple by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a site previously occupied by the Babri mosque, whose demolition in 1992 sparked widespread riots.

The incident has not only led to the obliteration of a piece of India’s rich cultural and religious heritage but also intensified the anxieties of the Muslim minority in the country. With Hindu nationalist rhetoric becoming more pronounced since Modi’s election in 2014, the future of religious harmony and tolerance in India hangs in the balance.

The Delhi Development Authority, responsible for the demolition, has yet to respond to inquiries, and a heavy police blockade now restricts access to the site, further obscuring the situation and denying the community closure.

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