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Delhi Waqf Board removes Imam of KG Marg mosque, appoints new Imam

New Delhi: Chairman of Delhi Waqf Board, Amanatullah Khan said here that in an important meeting of Delhi Waqf Board held in its office on 17 June attended by all Board members and the CEO Dr. Mahboob Alam, a decision was unanimously taken to remove Maulana Umair Ilyasi, existing Imam of the mosque situated at Kasturba Gandhi Marg (formerly Curzon Raod) from his post and to appoint Maulana Sajid Rashidi, President of All India Imam’s Association, as Imam in his place and also to appoint Qari Muhammad Ashraf Kashifi as Naib Imam. He said that appointment letters to both these people have been sent and in order to avoid any problem or opposition to this, letter has also been sent to local SHO for his information. In reply to a question about the reason of removing Maulana Umair Ilyasi from the post of Imam of this mosque, he (Amanatullah Khan) said that this mosque is the property of Delhi Waqf Board and this Board wants to increase its revenue. He said that sources of Waqf Board’s revenue or income are rents from its properties and hoardings / advertisement boards installed on Waqf lands and properties. He also said that earlier (late) Maulana Jameel Ilyasi (father of Maulana Umair Ilyasi) was the Imam of this mosque and after his death, this Board did not appoint any body as Imam of this mosque.

However, Maulana Umair Ilyasi disputes the claim of Amanatullah Khan. After his removal as Imam of this mosque and appointment of Maulana Sajid Rashidi as Imam of this mosque in his place an emergency meeting of All India Imam’s Organisation was held in Imam House at K. G. Marg on 19 June in which it was stated that under a conspiracy, another Imam has been appointed in this mosque (Curzon Road or K. G. Marg mosque) which is illegal. Maulana Umair Ilyasi said on this occasion that neither was I appointed Imam of this mosque by the Waqf Board nor has it got any right to remove me, nor do I take any compensation or salary from the Waqf Board. He said that even the expenses of water and electricity of the mosque or other expenses are borne by him. Giving a history of construction and development of New Dehi from 1901 in brief he said “this mosque of ours also was in the possession of L&DO (Land & Development Office) like 123 waqf properties. In 1959 my late father Maulana Jameel Ilyasi had rehabilitated it and on request to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister that Auqaf should be entrusted to Muslims, she (Mrs. Gandhi) had arranged many properties to be given on lease of one rupee; but Vishwa Hindu Parishad had objected and opposed it and by filing a petition in High Court got a stay order and ever since then this matter (of 123 properties) is pending in Court till date.  

He further said that the responsibility of this mosque was of my late father and now it is our responsibility. He said that I am ready to cooperate with Waqf Borad. He said that the basic dispute is of installing hoardings on this mosque but since the matter is pending in Court the status quo should be maintained. He said “yesterday some people had come here with a view of leading Namaaz (probably referring to the new Imam of this mosque Maulana Sajid Rashidi). A report against them has been lodged with the police.

On his part, Waqf Board Chairman Amanatullah Khan says that in response to a request made by the people to the board for appointment of Imam, we appointed Maulana Sajid Rashidi as Imam of this mosque and what we have done is as per rule. Maulana Umair Ilyasi need not be so angry. He further said that we had received complaints of constructions in this mosque without permission and also of running of some office from there, all of which are illegal. He said that late Maulana Jameel Ilyasi was at first an employee in Waqf Board and later the Board had appointed him as a paid Imam of this mosque. Maulana Jameel Ilyasi had made both his sons Umair Ilyasi and Suhaib Ilyasi ‘tenants’ in some portions of this mosque. Rents in the name of both were deposited and all audited documents are there with the Board. He said that no body can be allowed to do business in the mosque. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 July 2016 on page no. 14

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