Two weeks after Pakistani troops breached ceasefire and beheaded an Indian soldier in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Monday shocked the Bombay High Court, revealing that it had extended by a year the visa of a Pakistani national who has been embroiled in a bitter property dispute over a Bhandup dargah.
MiD DAY had earlier reported (‘Deported in 2007, Pak national in Wakf land dispute’, October 2, 2012) that Sayyed Waseem-ur-Rehman Shah alias Jugnumiyan, who was deported in 2007, had returned to India and was living in Mumbai.
On Monday, the court noted that the Foreigner Regional Registration Office had magnanimously extended Shah’s visa till January 24, 2014. The division bench of justices AS Oka and AP Bhangale noted, “[The additional solicitor-general’s] specific statement was that his visa was extended due to pending criminal cases. Now the concerned officer for Union of India will have to explain why the visa was extended for one year… especially in light of the fact that during his stay, criminal offences have been registered against him.”
Earlier, ASG Kevic Setalvad had told the court that Shah’s visa had been extended for 45 days from December 12, 2012 since his presence was needed so the criminal cases pending against him may be investigated. The court has now asked the central government to explain within two weeks why the visa was extended. It noted that Shah had entered India on November 22, 2006 and his visa was renewed time after time, until he was made to leave on May 19, 2007, owing to criminal cases. Even today, Shah is allegedly involved in criminal activities and continues to deliver inflammatory speeches.
The court also ordered, “If any unauthorised construction is carried out [by Shah on the dargah property], the structure should be demolished in accordance with law.” It took on record the affidavit of BMC official Sunil Bharambe, who stated that Shah had already been served a notice under section 354A of the Municipal Corporation Act to stop work.
Shah currently lives in Bhandup, and is locked in a feud with trustees of the Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Mansurul Hasan Shah Kutubul Auliya. The trustees have alleged in the Wakf’s petition that Shah is trying to usurp the dargah land from them by creating factions among his disciples, even though his role in the dargah is limited to that of a spiritual guide. They had approached the high court, seeking police protection so they could peacefully celebrate their festivals.