Govt should assure Muslims of protecting Waqf land: Jamiat

The Govt must take Muslim organisations into confidence before passing the Waqf Amendment Bill 2010 and should give an assurance to protect over 4 lakh acres of Waqf land across the country.

Updated: May 22, 2011, 18:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The Government must take Muslim
organisations into confidence before passing the Waqf
Amendment Bill 2010 and should give an assurance to protect
over 4 lakh acres of Waqf land across the country, influential
Islamic outfit Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said on Sunday.

Maulana Arshad Madni, president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind,
also asked the Government to abandon its plan of bringing Waqf
land under National Minorities Development and Finance
Corporation as it was "unacceptable" to them.

"We will not accept any such flawed bill which does not
give an assurance of complete protection of 4 lakh acres of
Muslim `Aukaf` or Waqf land spread all across the country and
which does not make sure that revenue generated through the
Waqf land will be used only for the benefits of Muslims," he
said.

The Central Waqf Council had sent a proposal to the
government recommending the constitution of National Waqf
Development Corporation under Company Act to look after Waqf
land, Madni said while addressing `All India Protection of
Auqaf Conference` here which was also attended by Rajya Sabha
Deputy Chairman Rahman Khan.

Madni said it was proposed that Central government will
have a share of 51 percent in the Corporation while the
remaining 49 percent will be shared by Waqf Board, Central
Waqf council and other related institutions.

The money generated under this mechanism was proposed to
be used for the benefits of poor Muslims, widows, children and
other marginalised section of Muslim community, he said.

"Our recommendation was even appreciated by the Sacchar
Committee and the Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by
Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in their
reports," he said.

However, the government has decided to form `Waqf
Development Agency` on the recommendation of the National
Minorities Development and Finance Corporation where in the
Central government will only have a share of 26 percent while
the remaining 74 percent will be shared by private sector.

"The revenue generated by Waqf land is meant for Muslims
but the NMDFC works for other communities as well. We want to
ask how can our money be used for other communities?" he
asked.

He sought to know why Minority Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid was not willing to listen to their grievances.

"Despite that, we have written a letter to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Cabinet
Secretary last year bringing into their notice our objections
regarding this."

Madni also appealed to the government to keep in mind
religious sentiments of Muslims and allow them to perform
prayers at all mosques and instruct the Archaeological Survey
of India to make sure the same.

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman said the Waqf boards should
not depend on the government to solve these issues as it is
just a facilitator.

"It is a long fight and we will have to fight it through
dialogue and by legal means," Khan said.

Giving examples of disputes over land between the
government and the Waqf Board in New Delhi, he said, "There is
a difference of perception here. The Waqf board feels that
this is their land while the government feels since there is
no title given to the Board on these land, it is government
property.

"We should try to solve these problems through
consultation. This is why the JPC had given a suggestion in
it`s report to create a `Waqf Dispute Resolution Mechanism` to
deal with this issue.

"It is the duty of every Muslims to protect Waqf land.
We can not expect the government to do this for us every time.

I feel that the government would not need any additional fund,
if only the Waqf properties are used effectively for the
welfare of the Muslims in India," he added.

PTI