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Saudi bid to fund renovation of Jama Masjid rejected

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 05: India has rejected the Saudi Government's offer to fund renovation of the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi.

The government politely turned down the offer citing that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been carrying out ''requisite conservation works'' at the 17th century mosque since 1955.

Culture Ministry sources pointed out that there was also a High Court direction that the ASI would undertake necessary repairs in consultation with the Delhi Wakf Board.

''As necessary repairs are being undertaken by the ASI, there is no need for requirement of foreign contribution for renovation and repair of the Masjid,'' sources said.

In January this year, the Saudi embassy had informed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) that the Kindgom of Saudi Arabia ''wishes'' to contribute for repair works of Jama Masjid, including erection of shades, maintenance of places of ablution and renovation of old electrical wiring.

''The Government has examined the offer in detail before taking a final decision on the offer,'' the sources said.

The MEA has sought the views of the Culture Ministry on the offer, but it was not in favour of foreign contribution for the repair or renovation of the 17th century Jama Masjid.

Sources said the government was not in favour of the offer right from the beginning. This was precisely the reason why no decision on this was communicated to Saudi King Abdullah who was the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade on January 26 this year.

The massive Jama Masjid complex, considered the second largest in India, was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1658.


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