Hindu outfits in Bengaluru gathered in Chamarajpet near the Idgah maidan to celebrate an order passed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Joint Commissioner (West) SM Srinivas, stating the ownership of the land is now vested with the Karnataka Revenue Department. The order was passed on Saturday, 6 August. The groups gathered at the maidan on Sunday, 7 August and burst crackers and distributed sweets to locals.
The order dated 6 August says that the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf (waqf) was given seven days to furnish the document. The time allotted for them to appear before the BBMP with the required documentation was extended for an additional five days since they failed to do so earlier. The order stated that the waqf board members had only presented the Supreme Court orders, which was insufficient despite several extensions.
The BBMP has dismissed their requests, stating that the Supreme Court judgment from 1964 only granted congregational rights to the Muslim community and did not confer ownership rights, because the board had not provided the necessary documentation showing ownership.
In June this year, Hindu organisations requested permission from the BBMP to organise celebrations for all religions on the property, which rekindled the dispute over the site which has been going on for several decades. The royal Wodeyar family of Mysuru gave the Muslim community more than 10 acres of land many years ago to be used as a cemetery and for Eidgah. After a lengthy legal dispute that lasted for decades, the Supreme Court finally decided that the land belongs to the Central Muslim Association (CMA) in 1964. After the cemetery was moved to a new position close to Mysore Road over time, the land's size decreased to two acres and 10 guntas. Therefore, all that was left was a space where Eid prayers could be delivered in front of an already-existing minar. The public uses the area for a variety of activities, such as cow grazing and as a playground.
'Idgah Maidan Listed as Playground in Survey Documents'
The Idgah Maidan is listed in the 1974 city survey documents as a playground with a khata in the name of the BBMP, suggesting that the area is a public property owned by the city corporation. The Karnataka State Board of Auqaf, according to the BBMP, should have represented themselves and declared their ownership of the land during the 1974 survey, or they might have asserted their claim at a later time and had the khata transferred in their name, which has not been done.
The Karnataka State Board of Auqaf disputed that the Idgah Maidan's two acres and 10 guntas of land are officially recognised waqf properties in the wake of the Idgah Maidan controversy.
The Central Muslim Association (CMA), which has looked after the Idgah maidan, has provided a number of documentation to support their ownership. This includes a Supreme Court decision from 1964 that apparently rejected a plan to build on the site and a subsequent waqf gazette notification from 7 June 1965, identifying the property as a waqf property. Despite this, there was a misunderstanding, because the area was listed as a playground in the 1974 survey and civic records.
Following the recent order, the BBMP now says that any dispute that the waqf board has over the ownership of the land must be taken up with the Karnataka Revenue Department.