Eminent Lucknow architect to design Ayodhya mosque

Professor SM Akhtar, a Lucknow architect-cum-town planner and founder dean, faculty of architecture, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi will design the mosque that will come up in Dhannipur village in Ayodhya district, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) said Tuesday.

Other than the mosque, Akhtar will also design other public utility establishments, including a hospital, Indo-Islamic Research Centre, community kitchen and a museum on the allocated 5 acre mosque complex.

The land was allocated to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB) in compliance with the Supreme Court order in the Ayodhya case verdict.

“We have appointed prof SM Akhtar as consultant architect and hence he will design the entire masjid complex that would come up on the 5 acre land in Dhannipur,” said Athar Hussian, spokesperson of IICF — the trust was formed by UPSCWB to carry out the construction of the mosque and other structures on the mosque complex.

Prof Akhtar, who was born and brought up in Lucknow, said the mosque would come up on around 15,000 square feet land and would be an amalgamation of Indo-Islamic architecture.

Akhtar, who has penned several books on architecture and environment, said the other establishments on the complex would also be constructed in the same architectural theme.

“Besides the mosque, a major portion would be utilised for construction of a hospital. Other utility establishments will be built on the remaining land,” the professor said.

He said that bridging the gap between the two communities through his architectural skills would be his sole aim while giving shape to the project.

Last month, the IICF had announced that the mosque would be named as Masjid Dhannipur. UPSCWB’s decision to construct the mosque also drew strong reactions from the community, with some people saying that a mosque cannot be constructed on land given by the government.

Shaista Amber, a social activist and president All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) and eminent Urdu poet Munawwar Rana had raised objection to construction of the mosque on the allocated land.

Rana, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested the construction of a grand hospital on the entire 5 acre land in Dhannipur, naming it after Lord Ram’s father King Dashratha. Besides, he had also offered a chunk of his ancestral land in Rae Bareli for construction of the mosque.

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