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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Waqf Board and NDMC face to face over Waqf land 

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: Two government agencies the Waqf Board and NDMC have come face to face against each other and the bone of contention between them is the graveyard land near Kaka Nagar. For the same plot of land, NDMC is erecting a boundary wall for its school whereas the Waqf Board has also started erecting a boundary wall on its land. The Waqf Board is blaming NDMC vice chairman, Mrs Tajdar Babar for occupying Waqf land. While Mrs Babar says that the Waqf Board is oblivious of its own land for the last 40 years. The NDMC school is there for 40 years but it never raised any objection against it. Before erecting the boundary wall NDMC held talks with Waqf Board chairman but he remained silent, but now all of a sudden, probably under some body’s pressure he got the official work stopped.

According to the Waqf Board chairman, Chaudhray Mateen Ahmad, he had talked to Mrs Babar when the NDMC construction work was stopped. He said that all occupations of the Waqf Board land near Bibi Saam Fatema’s mazar and the mosque in Kaka Nagar will be got vacated. 

According to chief executive officer of the Waqf Board, Faizi Ozair Hashmi, the Board had started construction of boundaries around its properties from August 2004. He said that the former chief secretary, Shelja Chandra had written a letter dated 7 June to the Board asking it to prepare a list of all its lands and properties and send them to the government along with their photographs so that in future they could be protected illegal occupation. After Shelja Chandra, when S. Raghunathan became the chief secretary, he also issued the same instructions to the Board in a letter on 12 August. He had told the CEO that by then that time neither the list of Board’s properties nor their photographs were received by his office. In its reply of 19 August to the government, the Board said that the construction of boundary wall has been started and that its photographs along with the list of its lands would be sent to it soon.

According to Hashmi, in accordance with these instructions of the government the Board in its letter dated 30 August ‘04 to the chief engineer of DSIDC requested him to get the boundary work done on Waqf land in Kaka Nagar and inform the Board about the estimated expenditure. DSIDC, after preparing the budget, sent it to the Board which was approved. People of the locality somehow came to know about this plan and they informed the local MLA, Mrs Tajdar Babar and their concern for the NDMC school which is situated on the Waqf land. They also requested her to build the boundary wall of the school.

Tajdar Babar, who is also vice chairperson of NDMC, got the boundary wall built around the school out of her own MLA fund at a cost of Rs 3 lakh and within this boundary wall all the vacant lands, which also are Waqf lands, have been included. Within the same land, there is Waqf Board mosque with an Imam appointed by the Board but the Board didn’t have any inkling about construction of the boundary wall. It was through the people who were coming to the mosque for offering namaz that Board came to know about construction of the boundary wall and that NDMC is trying the occupy it. It was then only that the Waqf Board woke up from its slumber and the Board’s chairman along with other officers got the work stopped.

A local MLA, Mrs Babar told Rashtriya Sahara that last year two children of the school had died because of an accident in the absence of a boundary wall and hence construction of this wall was considered essential for children’s safety, otherwise she said that she had no intention of illegally occupying Waqf land. Moreover, if the land was left in the same position, there was a possibility of land mafia occupying it, she said and added that when the land was vacant for the last 40 years, the Waqf Board remained oblivious of it. She further said that it was not good on the part of the Board to get the construction work stopped.

The Board’s chairman Mateen Ahmad, condemned Mrs Babar’s attempt to occupy Board’s land for constructing a wall and said that he is determined to get the land vacated. The question remains as to where was the Board when the boundary wall was being constructed? It was Board’s job to stop the work when it was being undertaken or was planned to be undertaken. The Board’s chowkidar posted there should have reported the matter to the Board. It he did not inform the Board in time, was any action taken against him?
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