Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shivajinagar tense over land row

Shivajinagar tense over land row
DH News Service, Bangalore:

The busy Shivajinagar bus terminus wore a deserted look on Monday after shops and business establishments in and around the area downed shutters fearing violence.
The reason: A group of Muslims protested against the construction activity taken up by Bowring Hospital on a 20,000 plus sq-ft land adjacent to the terminus.
Twenty-five KSRP platoons (around 1,300 policemen), 10 ACPs and 25 inspectors under the direct supervision of various DCPs, were present on the spot to prevent the situation from going out of control.
People gathered in large numbers, raised slogans and vented their anger but by evening, normalcy was restored.

HC order violation
An office-bearer of the Dargah-e-Hazrath Syed Sultan Shah, Khadri R A, told Deccan Herald: “The Bowring Hospital authorities have violated the High Court order and due to political pressure, they have started the construction work. As per the records, since 1924 the land belongs to us (dargah).
“The hospital authorities were paying the rent till 1973 but they stopped that abruptly. Hospital workers were living in a dilapidated cottage, where even the light and water were provided by us.”
He said Bowring Hospital had three acres of land which was lying waste. “Let them use the same and construct whatever they want on it,” he said.
On May 21, a meeting was held between representatives from both sides, but a decision could not be taken, he added.
“On Friday last, we got a stay on the khata. The court has given them (hospital authorities) four weeks’ time to prove the ownership of the land. Let them produce the documents and we will fight the legal battle to retain the land.
“Now, the chief minister comes out saying that there’s a shortage of beds at the Bowring and wants to add more beds. But that doesn’t mean that they can take our land and go ahead with the construction,” fumed a top dargah official.
However, the work on the site was stopped following directions from Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy after leaders of the Muslim community led by former MP C K Jaffer Sharief and legislator Saleem Ahmed brought to his notice an interim order issued by the High Court on June 22.
They informed the chief minister that the court had stayed the khata issued by the BMP in favour of the government.
Prior to meeting these leaders, the chief minister had refused to stop the construction work and had said that the land in question was government property and he couldn’t stop the hospital project.
Mr Kumaraswamy also pointed out that the construction was delayed by two months as the community leaders had sought time to produce documents to show that the land belonged to the dargah but none had produced any supporting documents so far.

Work stalled
However, Mr Kumaraswamy directed the officials to stop work on the site and sought legal opinion from the Advocate-General on the dispute and impact of the interim order of the High Court.
Meanwhile, Rajeeva Shetty, Bowring Hospital Superintendent, brushed aside the allegations and told this paper: “We have never paid rent... let them show one rent receipt. The land belongs to us, we have the mother deed and other relevant papers. The hearing is on Tuesday and we will fight it out and retain our land.
“In fact, during the mid-1960s, the Corporation had allotted the existing dargah land to them. During that time, we had appealed to the court and lost the case. They never bothered us till now... after we demolished the old structure and planned for a new building, they are raising the issue.”
BMTC authorities shifted operations after the incident. Starting points for buses from the Shivajinagar bus terminus were moved a few kilometres away — Indian Express Junction, Cubbon Road, old BRV Theatre etc.
But by evening, the main terminus was thrown open to the public.


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