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A local court to hear plea for survey of Mathura mosque ‘on the lines of Gyanvapi’

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WHILE ALL eyes are on the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi, a similar petition seeking videography of the Shahi Idgah Masjid adjacent to Krishnajanmabhoomi was recently moved in a local Mathura court.

The application seeks an advocate commissioner for assessment of the site “on the lines of (the) Gyanvapi mosque”, to determine “existence of Hindu artefacts and ancient religious inscriptions on the mosque premises”.

The application was filed in the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura, a day after the Allahabad High Court directed it to dispose of all cases related to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute within four months.

On May 12, while disposing of a petition filed by Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman And Another, the High Court said: “The Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura, is directed to decide the aforesaid applications expeditiously, preferably within a period of four months from the date a certified copy of this order is produced before him, and after giving an opportunity of hearing to the affected parties….”

The High Court also stated in its order: “It is clarified that the court has not expressed any opinion either regarding the maintainability of the case or the merits of claim made by the petitioner.”

The next day, May 13, an application was moved in the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mathura, seeking appointment of an advocate commissioner to carry out inspection of the Shahi Idgah Masjid.

Petitioner Manish Yadav, who had earlier filed an application in the High Court for early disposal of petitions connected with the disputed Mathura site, told The Indian Express: “I requested the Mathura court to appoint a senior advocate, an advocate commissioner, and get a video survey done of Shahi Idgah immediately, because there are still remains of Hindu religion inside the mosque. These are important facts, and the Opposition can remove or delete them. The court is likely to take up my application on July 1.”

National president of an outfit called the Narayani Sena, Yadav said he had moved the high court as petitions were pending, including ones seeking a survey of the site by the Archeological Survey of India and a direction to stop any construction at the site.

Earlier, an advocate named Mahendra Pratap Singh had filed an application in the same civil court seeking that a commission be appointed to survey the mosque.

Advocate Tanveer Khan, who is representing the Shahi Idgah Masjid, said they were waiting for the July 1 hearing of the four petitions pending in connection with the disputed site.

Meanwhile, the District Judge Court, Mathura, is likely to soon pronounce its judgment on the maintainability of a civil suit seeking removal of the mosque, claiming it was built on Krishna Janmabhoomi, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The suit was filed two years ago by the ‘Deity and the Janmasthan (birthplace)’ and ‘next friend’ Ranjana Agnihotri, a Lucknow resident, and others.

The petitioners have also sought cancellation of a compromise decree between the governing body of the temple complex and the management trust of the mosque in 1968. The petitioners claim that the agreement between the Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh, Mathura, and the mosque trust was “illegal and void ab initio (not legally binding)” as the land was vested in another trust, Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust, and the Seva Sangh was not authorised to act on its behalf.

Advocate Tanveer Khan said the civil court had rejected this plea in 2020, after which the petitioners had filed an appeal. “I argued that the petitioners are neither the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust nor Shri Krishna Janambhoomi Sewa Sangh, so their petition should be rejected.”





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Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier


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‘Death during demolition’: Family says 50 of them tried to get man out of debris

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Forty-year-old Kamlesh sits under the shade of a tree in the scorching sun looking at three plastic tents on an uneven muddy ground in Bulandshahr’s Awas Vikas 2 colony. Adjacent to a water tank, the plot had nearly eight houses belonging to different family members of Rohtas (45), Kamlesh’s husband.

Every few minutes, Kamlesh breaks down, recalling how she lost her husband and her house during an anti-encroachment drive earlier this month.

As per the family, and their neighbours, Rohtas was not allowed to move out of the house as the bulldozer moved in on May 2. The daily wager succumbed to his injuries 10 days later.

“When the wall collapsed, more than 50 people rushed to remove the debris from atop him. We took him to the nearest government hospital, and it asked us to take care of him at home. He never got up and eventually succumbed to his injuries,” a family member says, adding that Rohtas had been hurt on the leg and spine.

Officials deny this, saying Rohtas had been ailing and the family came up with the claim of his injuries later. The contractor who carried out the demolition and his aides have been booked, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. No case has been brought against any official as of now.

“The contractor came and told us ‘Samadhi banane aaya hoon (I am here to prepare your tomb)’. I told him my husband was sleeping inside the house and to give us a few minutes to wake him up. The driver didn’t listen and ploughed into a wall, which collapsed onto Rohtas,” says Kamlesh. The family says since the hospital didn’t admit him, they don’t have any medical papers to show.

The extended family of Rohtas and his brothers say they have been living on the approximately 4,000 sq ft land, in eight separate half-pucca huts for decades, much before the nearby Awas Vikas 2 colony was developed.

“This is probably our sixth generation living here. We have seen the city come up. They are saying we don’t belong here, when in fact we have been living here for years. If they have an issue, they should discuss it with us. Getting bulldozers is no solution,” says one of the relatives, Sumit Kumar Lodhi.

Another relative, Deepak, says the women of the family went down on their knees before the contractor, Mohit Chaudhary, who was hired for the demolition. “He kept saying we will end up on pyres. They even broke a nearby hand pump out of spite. In this heat, we are sleeping under a plastic sheet. We have been left with nothing.”

Locals in the area back the family, saying the bulldozer broke a wall and Rohtas did not get enough time to escape.

The Nagar Palika, which owns the land where the family lived, says that far from causing any injury or death, the demolition exercise had been carried out amicably.

Officials said some portions of the houses had been brought down on April 14, and the action on May 2 was carried out with the family’s consent. “In April, walls had been brought down and the debris was removed. On May 2, the family themselves said we should get a bulldozer and bring down the remaining structure,” says Manoj Garg, Chairman, Nagar Palika.

He also claims that in the ‘Jan Sunwai’ session held after the demolition, the family never talked about a person being injured and rather insisted that a route for movement be opened up. “The family never gave anything in writing about the demolition,” Garg says.

District administration officials claim Rohtas had been ailing and claims of injuries were wrong.

Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Chandra Prakash said: “We have filed an FIR and an investigation is taking place. As per initial fact-finding, we were informed that no person was injured during the anti encroachment. Further details will be ascertained during the probe and action will be taken accordingly.”

As the matter is under probe now, there is status quo on the land. Family members shelter under tents, their few belongings such as clothes, utensils strewn about. A neighbour says: “Sometimes they use our toilets. Some of their stuff is also kept in our houses. We have never heard of such an action in all the time we have lived here.”





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Fadnavis takes on CM Thackeray, says BJP trying to rid Mumbai of Shiv Sena’s corruption


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Western Railway starts 12 new AC local train services amid 46 pc jump in takers



With a 46 per cent rise in commuters on board AC local trains since April this year and the demand still rising, Western Railway introduced 12 new air-conditioned services on Monday. As per official statistics, daily average of passengers has been going up steadily this year from 11,230 in February to 15,357 in March, 22,033 in April and a jump of about 46 per cent in May with 32,115 passengers within the first 15 days.

Railway officials attributed the trend to slashing of single-journey fare by 50 per cent in April-end, following which there was a 116 per cent rise in sales. “The figures tell it all. The sale of single-journey tickets in February was 561 per day, rising to 1,047 in March and 1,867 in April with a steep rise to 4,033 per day in the first 15 days of May. Demand for season tickets has also been on the rise but steadily at about 28 per cent. The sale of monthly season tickets in February was 215 per day, rising to 289 in March and 398 in April and 509 in the first 15 days of May,” a senior official said.

Following the good response, Western Railway on Saturday, announced the running of 12 more AC local train services starting Monday morning. “With the introduction of 12 new AC services, the total number of AC services will now be 32 on Western Railway,” Western Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Sumit Thakur told mid-day.

“The fares for AC local journey tickets have been substantially reduced with effect from May 5, 2022. With this reduction, there has been a rise in the number of commuters travelling by AC locals. The minimum single journey ticket up to 10 km costs just Rs 35. Of the additional 12 services being introduced, six each are in up and down directions. In the up direction, there are five services between Virar and Churchgate, and one between Bhayandar and Churchgate. Similarly, in the down direction, there are four services between Churchgate and Virar, one each between Churchgate and Bhayandar and Andheri and Virar,” Thakur said.

32
Total no. of AC services on WR



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Mumbai logs 151 new Covid cases and one death


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Mumbai Police register over 12,000 cases for wrong-side driving in 2 months


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Mumbai: Ghatkopar station upgrade work begins to take shape



Highlighted by mid-day, promised by former railway minister Piyush Goyal, Ghatkopar station upgrade work has finally begun taking shape, with the old ticket booking office in the east being razed and the construction work now moving to the platform area. The new station with elevated decks is expected to be ready in three years. Ghatkopar is an important junction since it sees the integration of Metro Line 1.

Working on Ghatkopar station has been a challenge due to intensive crowding and constant movement of passenger and trains. Given that there is no immediate space even outside the station, working with heavy equipment has been a problem with limited headroom. We have now started work near the east side open space in railway land by pulling down the ticket office,” a senior official said.

Work is underway on the east side of the station at Ghatkopar

As per the plan, Ghatkopar station which sees about 1.93 lakh commuters per day—based on ticket sales at the station—and an average footfall of about 3.87 lakh commuters per day, including passing commuters, is now getting a massive seven-point upgrade with three new 12-metre foot bridges, all linked by an elevated deck, an additional skywalk along the road and seamless connectivity for passenger movement.

“The old booking office in the east has been pulled down and work has also begun simultaneously on platform one of the stations for foundation work. An elevated deck on the lines of Andheri and Goregaon has been planned with all the foot overbridges and the Mumbai Metro Line One station being linked for seamless connectivity. It will be like moving the entire station one floor up,” he added. Ghatkopar has been an important junction station since it sees large footfall due to integration of Mumbai Metro Line 1.

mid-day had highlighted in a front-paged report in its August 30, 2019 edition—Next Disaster Arriving on Platform No.1—how Ghatkopar station had become a death trap. Following this, Member of Parliament from northeast Mumbai Manoj Kotak followed up the issue with the then railway minister Piyush Goyal. At a public function on September 13, 2019, Goyal had directed railway officials to come up with an elaborate plan to upgrade the station.

A computer-generated plan for Ghatkopar station upgrade

The work is being done by Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) that had been facing a fund crunch till recently. Officials said with the funding restarted and more expected soon, work on MRVC projects will be speeded up.

The Ghatkopar station upgrade could have begun earlier but was facing issues due to lack of space. Railway officials said they intended to use high tech European piling machines to speed up the work as lack of physical space for construction work was one of the key problems.

Over the years, local train commuters have complained of the slow pace of work.

Seven-point plan for the busy station

1. 12m wide footbridge with double discharge proposed at Kalyan-end in replacement of existing 4m wide footbridge.
2. 12m footbridge proposed in the middle at north-end of existing 12-m wide middle FOB.
3. 12m footbridge with double discharge at CSMT-end in replacement of existing 4m wide footbridge.
4. 7.5-metre-wide elevated deck connecting to Metro station and  all foot overbridges.
5. Staircase /ramps proposed for connection with Metro station.
6. Skywalk proposed on road connecting to the Metro station.
7. 6-metre-wide connection is proposed to the existing BMC skywalk.

1.93
Daily footfall (in lakh) at Ghatkopar (station-originating commuters)



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Bomb squad unit to put young Jordan up for adoption after he bites 2 officers



There appears a crack in the Goregaon bomb squad unit over the decision to retire Jordan, a young police dog with an exemplary record, after he bit a couple of people on the team, said sources. They, however, suspect the officers who reported the incidents and suggested retirement mishandled Jordan. And, as Belgian Malinois are an aggressive breed, Jordan reacted in self-defence.
 
Jordan, who is now three-and-a-half-years-old, joined the Mumbai police force in 2019, and has since participated in over 500 VIP checking, including at IPL and celebrity events. He is the best among the 24 dogs in the bomb squad team, said police sources. The fact is that until now, Jordan didn’t bite any outsider or while on duty, they added.

Jordan with his first handler, who is on leave currently

He has been working with the Goregaon unit of the bomb squad. Now the department plans to put him up for adoption. A source in the Goregaon bomb squad said, “Jordan is a Belgian Malinois, which is an aggressive breed. They always need a handler, and if someone else tries to handle them, they attack the person in self defence. At 2.5 months, Jordan was assigned a woman officer who has been his handler since. Jordan never bit her.”

“She went on maternity leave some time back, and others in the team are having difficulty handling Jordan. He recently bit two officers and his second handler, and also another dog after they got into a fight. However, he has never bitten anyone before, while his first handler, the woman officer, was around. “Some officers misreported the incidents and submitted a report saying Jordan should retire. They also took the help of a veterinarian from Parel, who submitted a report stating he is aggressive,” the source added.

Unfair

Officers said the department has begun the process for Jordan’s retirement. “It’s unfair. He is still young. If the police department retires Jordan, nobody will take care of him. Moreover, his entire training and career will go to waste,” said another source.

The office of the Goregaon bomb squad

A police officer from the dog squad said, “Jordan was born in Murbad in November 2018, and joined the bomb squad on January 17, 2019… We suspect Jordan bit the officers due to mishandling or some fault of theirs. We can’t blame Jordan. We should give him more training instead of retiring him.” Nilesh Salunkhe Patil, in-charge of the bomb squad, Goregaon, confirmed the incident, but refused to comment on the matter.

Expert speak

“No dog ever wakes up one day and decides to bite. There has to have been a process of learning where the dog has decided that biting is the best option in a situation of conflict. Poor training could be to blame, too. Tackling the root cause of the aggression is the best way to work,” said Shirin Merchant, India’s pioneering canine trainer and behaviourist. 

2019
Year Jordan joined the Mumbai police force



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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Seal area where ‘shivling’ found, allow no one, orders Varanasi court

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A Varanasi court Monday ordered to “immediately seal the place where the shivling has been found” within the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex and said that no one should be allowed within the sealed area.

While accepting the application of the lawyer from the Hindu petitioners, the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar said, “District Magistrate, Varanasi, is directed to immediately seal the place where the Shivling has been found. No person should be allowed to enter the place which will be sealed. The responsibility for the security and custodianship of the place which will be sealed will be considered personally of Varanasi district magistrate, Varanasi police commissioner and the CRPF commandant, Varanasi.”

The court, while hearing the application, also said that the responsibility for supervising the sealing of the place will be of the UP director general of police (DGP) and the UP chief secretary (Administration).

An application was filed on Monday in the Varanasi court by Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, representing the five Hindu women petitioners, saying that a “Shivling is found in masjid complex at the place where waju khana is there”.

The three-day survey of the complex being done by the Commission concluded on Monday at noon, with officials saying that the findings of the survey were “confidential”.

District Government Counsel (Civil) Mahendra Pandey, who represents the government in the suit filed by the five women, confirmed to The Indian Express that the order was passed on Monday morning by the Varanasi court.

The court-ordered videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex was completed on Monday. The survey of the premises concluded around noon after three days of inspection in the presence of court-appointed Advocate Commissioners, lawyers from both sides, all concerned parties and officials.





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