In June, Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma had alleged that mosques were mushrooming on government land in several parts of the national Capital. On Thursday, a report by a fact-finding committee constituted by the Delhi Minorities Commission said Verma’s father and former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma had helped construct the Madina mosque – one of the 54 structures that Verma claimed were disputed – in West Delhi’s Mangolpuri area in 1976.
On June 18, Verma submitted a list of 54 mosques and graveyards in his constituency to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, and sought “immediate action” on the alleged mushrooming of these structures.
The Delhi Minorities Commission constituted a committee on June 24 that submitted a report on July 30 titled ‘The Legal Status of Religious Spaces in and around West Delhi: A Fact Finding Report’. The committee of five members visited all 54 religious structures in West Delhi and found none of them to be illegal, the report claimed.
“MPs need to speak responsibly”, said Zafarul Islam Khan, chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission at a press conference on Thursday. “We observed that this was being used on a communal line. This is not right. We just want the truth to come out. Illegal religious structures should go, be it mosques or temples.”
The report also claimed that eight structures out of the 54 listed in Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma’s letter were not found. “Either the addresses were incorrect or vacant plots were found,” it stated. It also found that a mosque built in 1617 that came under the Delhi Waqf Board was named as an encroachment on government land in Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma’s letter.
In its report, the committee recommended initiating legal proceedings against the West Delhi MP. “There is sufficient grounds to initiate legal proceedings against Member of Parliament, Shri Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma and those others making false claims, spreading rumours, to target a particular community, and creating communal disharmony in Delhi,” the report stated.