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Jama Masjid's chief cleric seeks help from PM for repair after cracks appear in historic mosque's dome

Though the responsibility of the management and protection of the mosque lies with the Waqf board, the officials within the board have claimed that they lack funds to carry out the repairs

December 15, 2017 / 11:24 AM IST
Muslims attend prayers during Jumat-ul-Vida or the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi, India, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton - SR1EC710TCV1S

Muslims attend prayers during Jumat-ul-Vida or the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi, India, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton - SR1EC710TCV1S

The historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi is in urgent need for repair as per the custodians of the historic mosque. The 17th century mosque’s condition is getting so bad that the chief cleric of the mosque has reportedly asked for intervention from the Prime Minister to salvage the situation.

The mosque which is in the centre of Shahjahanabad is showing signs of deterioration on both internal and external areas, said a report by Hindustan Times. Built by Shahjahan and originally named as Masjid-i Jahan Numa, the mosque attracts thousands of visitors every day. But the gradual aging of the structure whose construction began in 1648, along with the erosion caused by rampant water seepage is playing a role in the present crisis.

While the sandstone and plaster on the walls are getting peeled off, damages are also being discovered on the carvings in the parapet of the structure.

However, the biggest concern is the deterioration that is seen on the domes of the mosque where cracks have now started to appear.  White marks are reportedly visible on the central dome of the prayer hall, while cracks also come into notice on the adjoining smaller domes.

Though the responsibility for the management and protection of the mosque lies with the Delhi Waqf board, the officials within the board have claimed that they lack funds to carry out the repairs.

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And with the very survival of the mosque at stake, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the chief cleric of the mosque has said that he has written a letter to  Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help and has appealed for assistance from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). “I specifically told both the PM’s office and the ASI that lack of maintenance was resulting in permanent damage. In particular, the main prayer chamber and three domes require instant restoration,” he was quoted saying in the report.

ASI, which had carried out repair works on the mosque a decade ago, has however claimed that they have not been notified about any serious damage on the structure. “An estimate has been prepared for the restoration of its flooring. The tendering process is going on, the ASI will soon start work at Jama Masjid. As the mosque is not an ASI-protected monument, the responsibility of its regular monitoring and maintenance is not with us,” the spokesperson from ASI said in the report.
first published: Dec 15, 2017 11:24 am

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