Ayodhya: With the Uttar Pradesh government allotting 5 acres of agriculture department land in the village to build a mosque, Dhannipur has acquired a new identity.
The land was allotted in line with the Supreme Court order in the Ayodhya land dispute case that said Muslims should be given 5 acres of land in Ayodhya to construct a mosque, as it ruled on 9 November 2019 that Ram Mandir should come up at the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi site where the Babri Masjid was demolished on 6 December 1992.
The Dhannipur land is almost 22 km away from the Ram janmabhoomi site.
Located on the Lucknow-Faizabad highway, the village is part of Sohawal tehsil in Ayodhya district and is dominated by the Muslim community.
The residents of Dhannipur have welcomed the allotment of land for mosque. The villagers, however, said they would be happier if they also got a hospital, a degree college and a guesthouse.
‘5 acres are not enough’
Speaking to ThePrint, local resident Zafar Ahmad (62) said, “We are thankful to the government for choosing land from our Dhannipur village for the mosque. But 5 acres are not enough.”
He believes Dhannipur is going to be “a major religious destination”. “Muslims from all over the world will come to see the mosque, but where will they stay? We want a guesthouse here.”
Ahmad said the village also needs a hospital. “If someone gets sick here or meets with an accident, there is no facility of proper treatment. We have to go to either Faizabad city or Luckow.”
Mohammad Haneef Khan, another local resident, said the village is now getting recognition but lives would be better only if children got proper education.
“I would request the Yogi Adityanath government to build at least a degree college here. We are happy to see a mosque here but it will be better if the government also built a degree college and a hospital too.”
Demanding more development work, some residents also pointed out that there are enough mosques in the village.
“There are more than 15 mosques inside the village. There should be enough namazis too,” said Naeem, 22.
He said Muslims make “65 per cent of the inhabitants of Dhannipur”, while the rest are mostly Yadavs and Mauryas. “We agree that mosque is connected to our faith, but more development work is needed in this area,” said Naeem.
Ashok Kumar, a member of the Dhannipur village panchayat, agreed that the government should give more land for development projects.
“Allocation of 5 acres was a decision of the Supreme Court. Now, if this UP government really wants developement here, it should give more land for development work here. A guesthouse is a major need here now.”
The guesthouse, the residents said, would also cater to the people flocking to the village to attend a three-day fair it hosts every year in April.
There is a tomb of a Muslim saint in the village, and the fair is organised to mark his death anniversary.
According to the villagers, the tomb is located on a part of the 5-acre land allotted for the mosque. The rest of the land is currently used for wheat farming.
“We have a qawwali event the whole night during that mela. Hindus from nearby villages also come to attend it. We call this mela a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity,” Zafar Ahmad, who is also a member of the fair committee, told ThePrint.
Muslim litigants not happy with Dhannipur location
While Dhannipur residents have welcomed the prospect of having the mosque, the Muslim litigants in the Ayodhya dispute case are not unhappy with the site offered as it is not located “in the heart of Ayodhya”.
They complained that it would be inconvenient for the Muslims from Ayodhya to go all the way to Dhannipur, 22 km away, to offer namaz.
Speaking to the media, Haji Mehboob, a key litigant in the Ayodhya case, said, “What is the point of giving land so far away? We have said we don’t want land, and if land is allocated, it should be close to Ayodhya. I don’t accept it.”
Abdul Razzaq, a member of the Sunni Waqf Board, said they would discuss the issue at a meeting of the board called on 24 February. Speaking to ThePrint, Razzaq said the land allotment in Dhannipur was not acceptable to him, though he thinks there are chances most of the board members would decide otherwise.