NEW DELHI — In reply to a notice from the Delhi Minorities Commission, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has refuted the claim of some local people that seven-centuries-old Khirki Masjid, located in Saket area of Delhi, was a fort of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. The ASI has assured the commission that the monument is safe and is under protection since 1915.
Khirki Masjid is a 13th-century Tughlaq-era mosque. It was constructed by Malik Maqbool who was the prime minister of Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq (1309-1388).
In recent weeks, some miscreants had struck off the word ‘masjid’ from the ASI signage at the monument more than once. Some had reportedly even approached the commission claiming that it was Rajput king Maharana Pratap’s fort.
The Minorities Commission issued a notice to ASI.
“Information came in recent weeks that the name of the historical Khirki Masjid in south Delhi is being again and again erased from its signboard and that some local people are claiming that it is in fact a fort of Maharana Partap Singh,” said the commission.
ASI Superintendent of Delhi Zone has responded to the notice in writing as well as through oral deposition “assuring DMC that the monument is safe and that it enjoys the status of a protected monument since 1915.”
The ASI official further said that “the ASI is fully aware of the historical importance of this mosque; that the name of the mosque has been written again on the signboard, protection of the mosque has been strengthened and soon a stone plaque will be installed at its entrance.”
Moreover, ASI has started the repair of the mosque.
The ASI Superintendent said there is nothing in ASI records to support the claims about the mosque being a fort of Maharana Pratap and “if something comes to our notice officially we will refute it.”
Replying to a question by the Commission about prayers not being allowed in some mosques, the official said that ASI maintains the position found at the time of taking over any monument. If prayers were being offered in a mosque when ASI took it over, the same is continued as per the ASI Act.