Even court appointed government committee not undertaking repairs, say locals
SHOPIAN: With its murky management affairs taken to court by rival parties, the Jamia Masjid Shopian is in a sorry state, with a decaying roof threatening even the building.
Local residents said that despite the management of the mosque handed over by court to a committee headed by Assistant Commissioner, Revenue, no renovation has been carried out.
The famed mosque, which was built on people’s donations from 1930 to 1945 in three phases without any monetary help from government, is decaying for want of maintenance.
The historical masjid is the second of its kind in Kashmir, built on the pattern of Jamia Masjid of Srinagar.
The mosque had been victim of mismanagement, with rival groups taking the murky dealing to court.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that before the “embezzlement” came to fore, the mosque used to get massive donations from people.
The big tin roof of mosque has decayed and people fear that time is not far when the whole mosque would be in ruins.
“The dirt and bird droppings are everywhere and for installing a single lamp, one is supposed to get permission from district administration,” Shabir Ahmad, a local resident said.
Disillusioned with the affairs, locals say that the criminal charges against the management committees, and the mosque under government management, was a shame for the area.
“We are fed up with the system now. People offer prayers separately. There are several groups who offer prayers separately. The mosque is ruining and nobody is taking pains to renovate its infrastructure,” a resident said.
“The changing of tin roof was in plan more than a decade and the older Awkaf committee had collected funds for that but now nobody knows where those funds went and the condition of mosque is worsening day by day,” Muhammad Iqbal, another resident, said.
A senior officer from district administration told Kashmir Reader that police has filed criminal charges against both the parties in dispute, (Molvi Hameed’s party and Nazir khan’s party) four months ago, and the court had given authority to a committee headed by Assistant Commissioner Revenue Shopian to run the affairs of mosque as well as collection of donation from donation boxes.
Locals resent that the court appointed committee hasn’t carried any renovation work either. Not even a lamp has been changed, the said.
“The mosque premises has been occupied by vendors who even have blocked the entrances of mosque but nobody is removing those vendors from there,” Shakeel Ahmad, another local said adding that the mosque looks more like a business centre.
A former member of Awkaf-Committee told Kashmir Reader that the mosque has around 60 shops but the rents have not been revised for decades.
“The older committees distributed the shops of mosque on rent to relatives and friends without any bidding and that too on meagre rents,” he said.
About the embezzlements at the mosque, he said, that once in 1990s, a person donated his motorcycle to the mosque but when the records were checked the motor cycle was not on records.
He remarked that if the committee set by court was fair enough “why don’t they make the rent list of mosque shops public along with rates”.
A group of elderly people from the town said that they want both the committees who were involved in murky affairs punished by law, and a new local committee formed to look after the mosque affairs and its renovation.
“This is the lone mosque in south Kashmir and second in Kashmir with such construction design but the mosque is the victim of corruption and Allah will teach the people involved in its crime very soon,” Muhammad Rajab, a resident of Zawoora village said.
Assistant Commissioner Revenue Shopian, Majid Jahangeer, when contacted, said that he would check the details first. He did not respond to calls afterwards.