Community hall constructed illegally in front of protected monument

A community hall constructed within the protected area in Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel
A community hall constructed within the protected area in Srinagar. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Waseem Ahmad
Srinagar, Dec 16: A Community hall has been illegally raised infront of a protected monument in Hawal area of Old City, here.
The construction of the building was started last year and till date two floors of the building have been completed. However, no steps were taken by the authorities to stop the construction.
As per the rules of Archives, Archeology and Museums Department within the diameter of 100 feet no one can build anything where the protected monument is situated.
However, the locals said that the foundation stone of the building was laid in presence of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) officials by former MLA Abid Hussain Ansari last year with the name Alhaj Aga Syed Mustafa Almosvi Alsafvi Community Hall.
The shrine is named after Sayyid Muhammad Madani, who is believed to have arrived in India with Timur in 1398 and later moved to Kashmir as an envoy of Timur during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan, the shrine houses the tomb in which Madani is laid to rest. There is also a Masjid and a Hamaam.
The shrine is believed to have been raised during the reign of Zain-ul-Abidin, popularly known as ‘Budshah’ in 1444 as a tribute to his teacher Muhammad Madani.
The Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums sealed the shrine in 2002 after disputes over its ownership. The entry into the monument is restricted since then.
Munir-ul-Islam, Director Archives, Archeology and Museums J&K said that they approached the SMC and district administration about the issue but no efforts were made to stop the construction. “We did not give the permission to build the community hall in front of the monument, nor did anyone approach us. When the issue came to us, one storey of the building was constructed and then we wrote to the SMC and district administration about that but nothing was done to stop its construction. It is not in our hands to stop the construction work. It is unfortunate that our department was not aware about the issue at the beginning,” he said.