New Delhi: In a bid to reach out to the
minorities, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today wrote a letter
to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that his government
take steps to deal with encroachments on Wakf properties.
"It is my request to you to take effective steps to free
all Wakf properties which have been encroached across the
country so that these can be used for welfare measures which
the Muslim community needs today," Gadkari said in his letter.
He further stated that he has directed BJP-ruled states
to take the needed steps in this direction at the earliest and
hoped that the Central government would do so too.
Gadkari`s letter to the PM is being seen as a move to
strengthen the party`s minority base, especially after his
statement after taking charge of the party`s affairs in
December that he wanted to increase the party votebank by 10
per cent and the minorities formed a major target group in
The BJP leader said in the letter that there are five
lakh Wakfs across the country and the total area falling under
the organisation is around six lakh acres. He added, 50 years
back, the cost of Wakf properties was estimated to be around
Rs 5,000 crore.
Sachar Committee has estimated these properties to be
worth Rs 1.20 lakh crore now," Gadkari said in the letter.
The BJP President pointed out that if freed, these
properties or the money derived from sale of any of them can
be used to finance education of students from the minority
community, building community centres and lodges, maintaining
dargahs and cemetries, providing funds for widows, and other
Giving a suggestion, Gadkari said these properties should
be exempt from the Rent Control Act so that they become more