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Nizamuddin Markaz reopening: Delhi HC asks Centre, Delhi govt to file replies in 10 days

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board demanding to open the Markaz at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin

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The Delhi High Court on Friday granted 10 more days to the Centre and Delhi government to file their response to a petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board demanding the opening of the Markaz at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which was sealed on March 31, 2020 after a congregation of Tablighi Jamat was found to have many Covid-19 patients.

A single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta fixed the next hearing in the matter to March 24.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board demanding to open the Markaz at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin. The petition, filed through senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, sought directions to the respondent to reassess the necessity of keeping the Waqf premises available for operation as a religious place. The petitioners said the premises situated at Hazrat Nizamuddin is a Waqf property comprising of a mosque, a madrasa and a hostel and is locked since March 31, 2020.

The petitioners requested that as per the Central government guidelines for phased reopening of religious institutions issued on May 30, 2020, the government has not included Markaz in the same list.

The petitioner urged the Markaz be reopened as its fundamental right to worship is being violated. Even if the government needs to investigate or wants to retain the place as an evidence, they can do so. No resistance will be offered to magistrate or any investigating officer visiting the site, the petitioner contended.

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The petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution to reopen the locked premises of Markaz so that the fundamental Right to worship is not violated.

Tablighi Jamaat had held a gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz from March 10-13, 2020. More than 850 members were rushed to hospitals after contracting the infection. Preachers and people from Malaysia and Indonesia were said to have been at Nizamuddin for this congregation. This led to the area being sanitized and then later sealed by Delhi authorities. The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11.

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