MIRPUR (AJK)-The villagers of a fully non-Muslim-populated Qazi Tokriyan in Jammu region of Indian held Kashmir are witnessing the annihilation of a 200 years old mosque after which the village has been named. Just 15 kilometres from Jammu city, "Qazi" mosque is now in a state of ruin, says a report reaching here from across the line of control. Telling its own story of devastation, the old structure has been beaten by winds of time. "We are watching the building in the same condition since our childhood, we used to play in this mosque, but never saw a single person praying here," says Surinder Singh, a resident of the village.

Without even a single Muslim family in the village, the mosque has been left at the mercy of local villagers. These villagers on one hand have washed their hands off the damaged structure by saying that there is not even a single Muslim left in the village to take care of the mosque, on the other hand are taking care of an unidentified grave outside the mosque by organizing "Bhandaras" and offering prayers there. "I found the grave few years back, collected money from the villagers and renovated it with that money. I am now taking care of it and consider doing so as my duty.

Villagers have given it the name "Peer Baba's-shrine". They come here every Thursday and pay obeisance. On this day of every week, a drumbeater "Dhol Walla" also comes to beat the drum there by signalling the villagers that the prayers are being offered. All the offerings by the locals are later collected by this drumbeater," says Joginder Singh, an old villager of Qazi Tokriyan.

Villagers, who have been taking good care of that unidentified and simply constructed grave which does not have even a rooftop over it, are ignoring the matchless sample of architecture, which is still visible on the shattered walls of the mosque. The grave outside the mosque has been decorated beautifully with elegant and glittery green sheet whereas the condition of the mosque silently tells the story of neglect.

Such is condition of the mosque that there is overgrowth of weeds on the rooftop of the mosque and the canopy (Gumbad) is totally demolished. The mosque presents a scary look in the evening.

There is also a "verandah" between the grave and the mosque with the capacity to accommodate one hundred people at a time. "We respect the 'Peer Baba' but never go inside the mosque, even the children are afraid to go inside," says Nand Lal, a senior resident of the village.

While answering the queries about the construction of the mosque, he further says, "We don't know the exact date when it was built, but our elders say that the mosque is two hundred years old", says Haji Mohammed Sharif, a resident of nearby village.

The building is the legal property of Waqaf Islamia, Jammu, the department also never tried to maintain the devastated structure. Ghulam Hassan Mir, Administrator Auqaf Islamia Jammu while explaining the reason for ignoring the building says, "it is very unfortunate on our part that not only the department but also everyone has failed to protect such a historic and beautiful building."

Mir also said that, "as the department was unaware about the mosque, now we would do every possible effort to renovate the building as well as bring back its lost glory", the report added.