Monday, July 22, 2024

Gujarat Government’s Anti-Encroachment Drive for Uparkot Fort’s Renovation

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Recently, the Gujarat state government is facing enquiries on its anti-encroachment drive in the area of Uparkot Fort of Junagadh. The drive is a direct consequence of the Gujarat Government’s decision in 2020 to renovate the Uparkot Fort. The state government has set a budget of ₹ 70 crores for this renovation project.

A large Muslim mob congregated in the region to protest the action of demolition of illegal buildings. These illegal structures encroached on the state-protected. A total of 176 Mazars and 18 other religious structures were demolished under the vigilance of the  Junagadh District Collector and other high local officials.

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Historical Importance of Uparkot Fort

Junagadh Uparkot Fort History Where Crocodiles Used To Protect In 300 Feet Deep Pit See Images | Uparkot Fort: जूनागढ़ का ऊपरकोट फोर्ट, जहां 300 फीट गहरे गड्ढे में मगरमच्छ करते थे
PC ABP News

Uparkot Fort claims to be as old as 319 BC. Historians think that the main fort was built by Chandragupta of the Mauryan Dynasty. The fort has borne several sieges, and thus it has been rebuilt after every siege. Therefore, different part of the Fort are dated differently by historians. Locals state that the citadel of the fort was built by the grandfather of Lord Krishna. legend claims that its erstwhile name was Revatnagar.  

The Fort is situated on the Girnar Hills in the Saurashtra region of Gujrat. It is an imposing structure that is a testament to the history of India. The structure was last renovated in the 1890s by the Dewan of Junagadh State, Haridas Viharidas. The fort has Buddhist caves within the fort walls. These caves are adorned by ornate pillars and entrances. These Buddhist caves are styled as per the Satavahana style.

The fort has two medieval canons Neelam and Manek. These were used to resist the Portuguese invader in Diu. There is a 15th century Jama Masjid in the fort region as well.

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Consequences of Government Action against Land Encroachment

Junagadh: 2000 Muslims come to protest against demolition of illegal structures, including dargahs and mazars
PC OpIndia

The local officials successfully completed their anti-encroachment drive in the Junagadh’s Uparkot Fort region. However, they were surrounded by approximately 2000 Muslims once the news of demolition of Mazars and other religious structures was revealed. Moreover, there was no evidence of legality of the constructions that were deemed as encroachment of state-protected land. In India, the permission to build a Mazar falls under the jurisdiction of the local municipal or panchayat authorities. The lack of legal paperwork led to the demolition of illegal constructions.

The mob insisted that a court of law stayed the orders of demolition. However, they were unable to prove this statement with any actual evidence. The mob claimed only Muslim structures were demolished; but it should be noted that the demolition was conducted on only illegal buildings. Additionally the notices of demolition were delivered earlier this year. Thus, to state that this action of local authorities was sudden is also a false claim. The buildings deemed as illegal were notified in advance to all residents of the area. Thus, physically overpowering local authorities for doing their job must be questioned. Moreover, the mobilization of these individuals in large numbers; as well as the presence of Muftis and Maulvis among the mob, must be investigated by the state government. 

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