BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: Coming out heavily against the government’s plan to bring waqf land under National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation by forming Waqf Development Authority, Mualana Syed Wali Rehmani, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) and chairman of Rehmani Foundation, has said in a letter to Minister of Minority Affairs Slaman Khurshid that “instead of imposing something without consultation, you should present in front of the community leaders and organisations what you intend to achieve by bringing in the Waqf Development Authority.”
He said in the letter that the apprehensions about the Waqf Development Authority were not new. “The Central Waqf Council has actually expressed its opposition to such a move on several occasions in the past. It had also written to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi.”
“While we did not receive any reply of these communications, it is ironic to see that the government seems to be moving ahead with its plan without taking the community into confidence”, he added.
Coming down heavily on the attitude that ‘the bureaucrats are always right’, he said, “This is the bureaucracy which has harmed the interests of the community the most. Hence, unless thorough discussion is done on the proposed Waqf Development Authority, it will not be acceptable to the community.”
Earlier, Maulana Arshad Madni, president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind had 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.
On April 23 this year, former Union Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had accused the government of attempting to grab waqf properties across the country by forming the Waqf Development Authority.
“The union cabinet has recently made a decision to entrust control of all waqf properties to a newly-constituted National Waqf Development Agency and this will lead to “only 24 percent of the waqf properties continuing to vest with the Muslim community, while the new agency will get all rights over the remaining 76 percent”, Mulayam said while addressing a press conference on April 23 in Lucknow.
“Any such move is against the interest of the Muslim community and the Samajwadi Party will, therefore, oppose the proposal tooth and nail,” he said.
“Waqf property belongs to Muslims and no government can be allowed to usurp that right from the community. After all waqf property belongs to Muslims, whose ancestors had left it behind for them,” he said.
Claiming that while he was in power in Uttar Pradesh, he had made it a point to ensure complete protection of all waqf properties and many such properties had also been clearly demarcated by raising of boundary walls around them, he said unless the central government revoked its decision, “such a move was bound to send very wrong signals to the entire Muslim community”.
“Muslims may even start thinking that their property is not safe in India, which in turn may have very serious repercussions,” he said.