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Regional News: Guntur

Mecca Masjid in Kandukur faces extinction

Ongole, March 2 (INN): Though its namesake in Hyderabad attracts the attention of people worldwide, a 300-year-old 'Mecca Masjid' at Kandukur in Prakasam district is facing extinction with land-grabbers having encroached on almost its entire property. The 'Mecca Masjid', built amidst agricultural fields on Survey No 566, Ward No 6 in Kandukur of Prakasam district, has now only about 2000 square yards left, out of the 126 acres it had originally.

The value of the property belonging to the Masjid is estimated to be more than Rs 300 crore, on paper. The fact remains that the Masjid structure and the small compound in front is all that remains under the control of the Committee.

The encroachments have been blamed on the apathy of the Wakf Board and concerned officials, who are alleged to have remained mute spectators. Locals fear that the continued silence over the increased adventurism of the encroachers may soon result in only the main structure remaining, while the compound too gets encroached.

'Out of 126 acres which belongs to the Masjid, only a small part of land remains within the control of the Masjid. No one pays any attention to the cries of the local people here,' complains Shaik Bhai, a regular Namazi who offers prayers in the Mosque.

He continues, 'the remaining portion of the Masjid is also in danger of being encroached upon, as the land has turned a haven for gamblers. Other illegal activities are also being carried out by the encroachers.'

The dilapidated condition of the Masjid and lack of Wakf authorities' focus are squarely to be blamed for emboldening the land-grabbers to continue constructions on the open land.

Shaik Bhai further says that 'presently, the Masjid stands on a plot measuring at about 2000 yards, when it originally had about 126 acres of prime land as its property. The matter has been brought to notice of the concern authorities for taking action against the land grabbers, but our representations have been brushed aside or totally neglected.'

Besides this, an Inspector who was appointed by the Wakf Board, collects the rents from the shop owners who occupy the shops, but the salaries of the Imam and the Muezzin are left unpaid for a very long time.

'The rent is collected from the 36 shops belonging to the Masjid, with each shop paying Rs 1000 to Rs 3000 as rent. However, a meagre amount is being deposited with the Wakf Board while the remaining amount is unaccounted for.

Even the salaries of the Imam and Muezzin are not paid, despite the revenue being collected averaging out to around Rs 50,000. When the Mussalis (people who pray in the Mosque) tried to question the man given charge of the upkeep of the Mosque, they were threatened,' reveals Shaik Bhai. Even the day-to-day maintenance of the Masjid is being overlooked, he concludes.

News Posted: 2 March, 2011


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