Mumbai : After Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's chief Raj Thackeray showed at the Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park on Wednesday a video of the encroachment in the middle of the sea off the Mahim coast, the State revenue department and the BMC along with Mumbai police demolished the structure on Thursday morning. The 'Chilla' - a platform, constructed of rocks, bamboo sticks and fences, was removed in a joint operation.
Thackeray had also warned the authorities that if the illegal construction is not demolished within a month, a Ganesh temple would be built next to it. Within less than 24 hours after his threat, the city collector Rajiv Nivatkar ordered action on the structure. A six member team was immediately formed by resident deputy collector Sadanand Jadhav for the demolition. The decision is believed to have been taken at the highest level of the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government.
The team visited the spot early in the morning and with the help of JCB, the structure was removed. More than 100 civic workers and officials and police personnel were deployed. According to civic sources, the action was initiated by the collector’s office, while the BMC had a role only to provide logistical support and manpower. The structure was constructed during low tide and the demolition too was carried out during low tide and debris was later removed from the place, said the sources.
Jadhav said, " The construction of "Chilla" was going on for the last few years, it had come up illegally on revenue department land. The team formed by us inspected the spot and took action in the morning." Meanwhile the G North ward officials also took action on 40 to 50 illegal huts along with the shoreline on the rear side of the Mahim dargah.
Bulldozers demolishing the dargah in the Mahim Bay | PTI
"It is a misconception that it was a Mazhar. There was never a Mazhar. Mazhar is here at Mahim Dargah which is 600 years old. That place was a Chila where Makhdoom Shah Baba used to take his education from his teacher Khwaja Hayatun Nabi. It was a spiritual place and place for spiritual benefit. There was another Chila at Mahim Police Station that is not open to the public," said Sohail Khandwani, managing trustee of the Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust, which looks after the Mahim Dargah.
A Chila is a place where people go to study or where one sits and educates himself spiritually. The place where the action took place has been registered with wakf board in 2007 along with the Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust, which was earlier registered with the charity commissioner, according to Khandwani.
Khandwani added, "The action is on unauthorised part and not on the Chila. When the high tide is there, the Chila is not visible. When high tide is not there, it is not visible. People go there and read the Quran."
When asked about the illegal construction that was done, the chadars that were offered and flags that were put, and whether the Trust allowed illegal construction to happen without taking action, Khandwani added, "The Trust that looks after it is different. People's belief and love is such that they offer Chadar and flowers although these are to be offered on the mazhar and not the Chila."
"There was no construction. It was just an ota (platform) and a place to sit. It is like a table platform with no electricity or even a shade. That ota was over 600 years old and it was registered in 2007," said Aslam Shaikh, trustee Khwaja Khizar Hayatun Nabi Chila
"The place was registered under wakf in 2007. We do not have any records of giving any permission for construction," said Junaid Sayyad, chief executive officer, wakf board. When asked about the action being taken against the trust for the illegal construction , he directed that FPJ talk to the CEO.
"We are still accessing the details and will get back to you.," said Moinuddin Tehsildar, CEO wakf board.
The development came after Raj Thackeray pulled the ears of the state government, Mumbai Police and civic administration, and drew their attention to the potential security threat lurking there.
MNS leader Raj Thackeray reportedly said that the 'mazaar' should be removed or a Ganesh Temple could come at the spot soon.
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