Police and civil authorities in the Indian capital have demolished a makeshift mosque in a Rohingya camp, say the refugees, weeks after a massive fire had engulfed the settlement.
The mosque, made up of tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks, was bulldozed at about 7am local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday, at the camp located in New Delhi’s Madanpur Khader area in the city’s south, bordering Uttar Pradesh state.
Nearly 300 refugees, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in neighbouring Buddhist-majority Myanmar, told Al Jazeera the structure was demolished despite their appeals to the authorities not to do so.
The Muslim-majority Rohingya say they have been left without a place to worship.
“The demolition began an hour after the Fajr prayers in the mosque,” Mohammad, 33, who wanted to be identified with his first name only for fear of reprisal, told Al Jazeera.
“They first destroyed the toilets and washrooms, uprooted a water hand pump and then demolished the mosque – all within 10 minutes.”
He said when the refugees tried to protest, the officials instead told them they were “illegal immigrants” living in the camp by “encroaching the land”.
“I told them this is our place of worship but they said you talk a lot,” said Mohammad.
“For us, a mosque is just like the Hindus have temples. What they did is totally wrong but we are powerless.”
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