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Don’t fence your graveyard, police tell Ahmadis
* Ahmadis told to remove wall after clerics oppose ‘mini-Rabwah’
LAHORE: Police has asked the Ahamdiyya Community to demolish by today (Friday) a boundary wall on a piece of land it had bought to extend its cemetery, after threats by local clerics who said it was a move to build a “mini-Rabwah”.
The community had bought six acres of land in the outskirts of Lahore to extend an existing cemetery, but local clerics – allegedly from Sunni Tehrik and Tehrik-e-Tahafaz-e-Naomoos-e-Risalat – began to provoke the residents of the locality to oppose the construction of a boundary wall on the land.
The clerics, Daily Times learnt, also made announcements in local mosques and held a couple of demonstrations.
Instead of protecting the community, the police and the local administration are pressuring it to stop the construction and demolish the part of the wall it had already built.
The community had bought the land from an Ahmadi landlord at a place called Handu Gujjar, seven miles from Shalimar Gardens off the Grand Trunk Road going towards Wagah. No local authority or housing society is prepared to offer them space for a cemetery in Lahore.
Part of the land has been a graveyard for 10 years, while the rest of it was vacant. The community had recently begun building a wall around it.
On April 15, 2007, a group of clerics (not from the locality) began to say they would not allow a “mini-Rabwah” in Handu Gujjar. Residents say the place had earlier been peaceful and there was complete inter-communal harmony.
On April 16, the Mughalpura SP summoned representatives of the Ahmadiyya Community and a group of clerics and told them to come to the Manawan police station to “show their strength” knowing that Ahmadis are a minority.
This mobilised the clerics, who used loudspeakers and mosques to urge people to “unite against Ahmadis”. They were able to gather about 150 clerics and madrassa students the next day, convincing the Ahmadis to abandon the “illegal construction”.
Later, the SP said the clerics now wanted the height of the boundary wall lowered from 6 feet high to 4 feet, with barbed wire on the top. In the evening, a group of clerics delivered more speeches on loudspeakers and consequently, a group of 500 to 600 men gathered to give the Ahmadiyya Community a “10-day ultimatum” to demolish the boundary wall.
The SP then told Ahmadis to either demolish the wall or let the government do it, lest a mob of mullahs demolished it itself, which he said police could not stop.
Two days ago, the Ahmadiyya Community received a notice from the local town authority that the construction was illegal. The police has now asked the community to remove the wall by Friday (today).
Mughalpura SP Dr Rizwan was not available for comment, but the station house officer (Manawan police station) said the police could not do anything to protect Ahmadis from clerics. “Only the media can protect the rights of that community,” he said. ali waqar