FPJ Impact: Notice Issued For Razing Of ‘Illegal’ Dargah On Protected Mangroves Near Uttan

FPJ Impact: Notice Issued For Razing Of ‘Illegal’ Dargah On Protected Mangroves Near Uttan

The tehsildar's office has issued notice to the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation on Tuesday to demolish the encroachments and asked the Balleshah Pir Dargah Trust to stop all illegal construction and remove encroachments immediately.

Dharmesh Thakkar Suresh GolaniUpdated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 10:40 PM IST
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Notice Issued For Razing Of ‘Illegal’ Dargah On Protected Mangroves Near Uttan | Representational Image | ANI

Mumbai: Acting on the FPJ investigation report on an allegedly illegal dargah on protected mangroves near the sensitive Uttan jetty at Bhayander posing security threats, the tehsildar's office has issued notice to the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation on Tuesday to demolish the encroachments and asked the Balleshah Pir Dargah Trust to stop all illegal construction and remove encroachments immediately.

The Free Press Journal had last month exposed the destruction of protected mangroves for rapid expansion of the dargah at Uttan Chowk and the security concerns raised by intel agencies because of illegal Rohingya immigrants visiting the shrine at the confluence of Vasai creek and Arabian sea.

The Sufi shrine has allegedly encroached upon 57 hectares of protected mangrove with dumping debris, building of semi-permanent structures and boarding room for expansion of the dargah since 2003 was ignored by successive police and civic administration.

The issue was also raised in the Maharashtra state assembly in 2009 and the Thane Rural police had also filed a confidential report to Thane collector AL Jarad about the security threats and asked the administration to take action.

“Mumbai is just 5km from Uttan jetty by sea. The 1993 landing point of explosives before the blasts at Sekhadi, Ratnagiri can be similarly misused to smuggle arms and ammunition into Thane and Mumbai. Unregulated crowd at the dargah near the sensitive jetty is a major security threat,” reads the October 2011 Thane Rural police report.

Hazrat Balesha Peer Dargah trustee and former corporator Amjad Shaikh maintained his stand that the shrine is in existence ever since the saint came here ago and stayed at the holy place.

“Neither have we hurt religious sentiments of any community nor involved in any kind of illegal work as alleged. I don’t understand the logic as to why this shrine which has been in existence for more than two centuries is being targeted when structures which are actually being illegally constructed by destroying mangroves on government land continue to flourish,” argued Amjad Shaikh.

The Mira-Bhayandar municipal corporation had also issued show cause notices in 2016 to the dargah trust and revenue department had also rejected the trust secretary Abdul Kadir Qureshi's application to regularise the shrine and enter the trust’s name in the 7/12 property extract.

BJP leader advocate Ravi Vyas had demanded action against the dargah encroaching on government land and destroying mangroves. While the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation denied any notices from the Tehsildar office for demolition of the disputed dargah encroached on the protected mangroves near the sensitive Uttan jetty, the FPJ has in possession copy of the notices given to the civic authorities on Tuesday for demolition by the additional tehsildar Nilesh Gaund.

“We have not received any official communication from the tehsildar’s office. However, we will extend our support upon receiving any kind of request from the concerned department.” said a senior officer attached to the anti-encroachment wing of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation.

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