Community News

War on Waqf mafia

New Delhi: Union minister for minorities affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here while talking to media persons that the central government has initiated a crack-down against the nexus between land mafia and officials of state Waqf Board who have colluded (and are colluding) with them to facilitate encroachment on vast landed properties of central and state waqf boards across the country. He said that his ministry has received a number of complaints regarding misappropriation of waqf lands and other properties and his ministry has started a high level inquiry about such complaints received from several states. He said that there are 31 state waqf boards and more than 4,27000 registered waqf properties in the country. In addition to these, there are many unregistered waqf properties and many of these properties all over the country are in illegal occupation of waqf mafia. He said that he has issued orders that all waqf properties should be registered on-line by the end of this year. He said that in order to deal with complaints about illegal occupation of waqf properties, his ministry has decided to set up (Waqf) tribunals at the centre as well as in the states. He said that the tribunal at the centre will be a single member body headed by a retired Supreme Court judge whereas those in the states will consist of 3 members headed by a retired judge of High Court. He said that his ministry has already started a high-level inquiry into all allegations of misappropriation of waqf lands received from different states. He said that truly speaking there is a ‘full blown scam’ that has come to light in Karnatak and reports appearing in some newspapers like ‘Mail Today’. He said that these matters were taken up in the meeting of Central Waqf Council and the decision to investigate all such complaints was taken, adding that strict legal action will be taken against those involved in such illegal acts. According to ministry sources the question of central tribunal was taken up with the union law ministry which had sent names of some retired judges to this ministry for selecting the tribunal head. He said that names of many (retired) judges are being considered for appointment to central and state tribunals and it is expected that these tribunals will start working in about a month. He said that a campaign on ‘war footing’ has been initiated by the government to free waqf properties from the clutches of the mafia all over the country so that these properties can be used for the welfare of Muslims. He said that in cooperation with state governments we will build schools, colleges, malls, hospitals, skill development centres and the revenues generated will be utilised for education and other welfare and development activities for Muslims. He said that multi-purpose community centres to be named sadbhavna mandaps will also be constructed on waqf lands which will be utilised for marriage ceremonies, exhibitions as well as relief centres during natural calamities.

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

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