Special Reports

Govt land in return of usurped waqf lands

New Delhi: AMU Old Boys Association organised on 30 October a meeting in Kolkata to felicitate AMU Vice Chancellor Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis in appreciation of his efforts to expand AMU’s educational activities in Murshidabad and other places in the country by opening the University’s centres there. The meeting was attended by West Bengal’s Chief Minister Buddhadeh Bhattacharya (who was the chief guest), Maulana Wali Rahmani, Sajjada Nashin of Rahmani Khanqah, Moonger, Moinul Hasan, MP and about 400 other intellectuals and important personalities from different walks of life who paid rich tributes to AMU’s services in promoting the Aligarh movement and keeping it alive.

Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani speaking on this occasion said that Prof. Abdul Azis as Vice Chancellor of this University has been doing every thing possible to expand and promote education to far off places by opening AMU’s centres at different places. He said that finance ministry at the centre has sanctioned Rs 1700 crores each for AMU’s Murshidabad and Malappuram centres. He thanked Buddhadeb Bhattacharya for building Haj House for the Hajis, upgrading Madrasa Aalia to Aalia University. He said that Aalia University is basically a madrasa but we would have been happier and more thankful to him if madrasa syllabus i.e., religious education would have been given priority in this University. The present position, he said, is that we have got a small university at the cost of a big and important madrasa. In this university there are no arrangements for teaching Urdu and Persian. As regards religious education, the less said the better because every body knows what is its fate in this university.

He said that I do understand the importance of university education but building this university at the cost of religious madrasa is an injustice. Drawing the chief minister’s attention he said that AMU Old Boys Association has made a demand for land in Kolkata city which should be given to them as has been given by the state government to other institutions because it is the right of 26% Muslim population of West Bengal. He said that in Kolkata, Governor House, Writers Building (which is the secretariat of WB’s government), Race Course etc are all built on Waqf lands. Rent of Governor House paid to the Waqf Board is only a few thousand rupees which is an extremely small sum. He said that ‘I do not mean to say that Governor House should be used for the educational purpose of Muslims but I would certainly say that total area of Waqf lands in the possession of Bengal government, which are being used for governmental and semi governmental purposes, should be allotted to the Waqf Board in or in the suburbs of Kolkata. In this way the government will set a good example and there will also be no blame of illegally occupying Waqf lands.

About Waqf Act he said that it is very weak and there are many lacunae in it. The Waqf Act enacted by the central government too has many loopholes. Because of opposition and suggestions by Muslim Personal Law Board it is under consideration of select committee but that too is not acceptable to us because of many shortcomings. He further said that the Waqf Act in force in West Bengal has totally failed in removing the illegal occupations of Waqf lands and properties. He said that it is West Bengal government’s responsibility to extend the scope of Public Premises Act so as to facilitate the task of getting illegal occupations vacated. He also demanded that Waqf properties should be exempted from Rent Control Act because the benefits of Waqf properties are for the common people.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, speaking on this occasion said that the credit for setting up AMU’s centre in Murshidabad goes to the Vice Chancellor Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis. He assured that his government will extend all possible cooperation for the building and development of Murshidabad centre’s infrastructure and will give special attention to building of road from the national highway to the centre and that the boundary walls of the campus will be completed soon. Vice Chancellor Prof. Azis while thanking the Chief Minister Bhattacharya said that from this year itself the Murshidabad Centre will start working from a temporary building and the foundation of the proposed centre will be laid by HRD minister Kapil Sibal on 20 November, 2010.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2010 on page no. 3

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