Darsgah Islami School in Chaand Patti village of Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh, demolished by the government on court orders. Photo: India Tomorrow.Syed Khalique Ahmed |India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI—The Azamgarh district administration has demolished a part of the 70-year-old Darsgah Islami School in Muslim-dominated Chaand Patti village on court orders, creating problems for over 600 students, mostly girls, who were studying in the school.
Though the school is named as Darsgah Islami, the institution imparts religious as well as modern education to its students. It is a co-educational institution upto Std 5. However, it is all-girls from Std 6 to 10.
The demolished portion of the school include five classrooms and a ground plus two-storeyed library named Maulana Abullais Islahi Library, after the name of former Ameer of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH).
While 12 classrooms are still intact but they cannot be used because all of them have been damaged badly as they were adjacent to the demolished rooms and the library.
Speaking to India Tomorrow over phone, Maulana Azeem Falahi, who manages the Darsgarh, said that the school was launched from a hut in 1950 to fulfill the educational requirement-religious as well as modern-of the local children. It was slowly converted into a building of steel and concrete constructed from donations of the well-wishers on a piece of land donated by the local villagers.
During ‘chakbandi’ or land consolidation exercise in Uttar Pradesh in 1971, the school management requested the revenue department officials involved in ‘chakbandi’ to allot some land for expansion of the school. Though the officials made available about 3000 square feet of land adjoining the Darsgah but mentioned it as sports ground in the government records. The school management did not go into the nitty-gritty of the allotment and constructed additional buildings and a library over this portion of the land.
In 2016, Mohammed Ali, a resident of the village, who was living in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, returned to the village and joined BJP. He moved the Allahabad High Court, seeking removal of the portion of the school building and the library that was constructed over the ‘sports ground’. The high court referred the matter to the Sagari Tehsil under which the village comes, to look into it. The ‘tehsildar’ or the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), however, gave the verdict in favour of the school.
Mohammed Ali challenged SDM’s verdict in the court of Azamgarh district magistrate(DM) who in October 2019 decided against the school.
However, the local authorities avoided demolition of the school building to take possession of the sports ground.
Mohammed Ali then moved the Allahabad High Court, seeking implementation of the DM’s verdict. The school management sought stay on DM’s order but the high court rejected it.
Despite this, the district authorities cooperated with the school management and did not demolish the school building.
Meanwhile, the school management held several meetings involving elders of the village who tried to convince Mohammed Ali to not insist on demolition of the school building and withdraw his case. But he did not listen to anybody. Maulana Falahi even offered to exchange the sports ground with an equal portion of his own land in the village but Mohammed Ali did not accept the offer. Even the local MLA Vandana Singh tried to intervene but Mohammed Ali stuck to his demand that the school building be razed to the ground.
Mohammed Ali finally got a contempt of court order issued 15 days ago against the SDM for dilly-dallying in removing ‘encroachment’ from the sports ground.
With no option left, Sagari SDM then got the portion of the school building from the government land removed.
Maulana Falahi said that the teaching work has, however, not stopped. Some of the villagers have offered their houses which have been converted into classrooms and teaching work was continuing.
He said that it would take some time for arranging funds for repair of the remaining portion of the school and making it usable again.