With the Uttar Pradesh government planning a survey of Waqf properties in the state, UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya on Wednesday said the move has been taken to act upon complaints of land mafias taking over precious Waqf property, adding that those opposing it are against the welfare of poor Muslims.
Muslim Waqf and Hajj Minister Dharam Pal Singh also on Wednesday said that these are “god’s properties” and that no one has the right to occupy them.
The plan to survey Waqf properties comes amid a row over the survey of unrecognised private madrassas in Uttar Pradesh. The UP government is now planning to take back the government and public properties that have gone to Waqf over the years.
An order was issued by the Secretary of the Minority Welfare Department and sent to commissioners and District Magistrates across districts, seeking details of such properties in their respective regions. A time limit of one month has been given to officials to prepare this report.
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The state government has struck down a previous order by the government passed in 1989, which paved the way for transferring those public properties to the Waqf Board that was left barren or non-agricultural land or were being used by a shrine, Qabristan or an Eidgah.
Responding to reports of survey on Waqf properties, UP Muslim Waqf and Haj Minister Dharam Pal Singh said, “Waqf properties are very important. Waqf is god’s property. No one has the right to occupy it. Government, with good intention, has started its survey; orders given from before to first identify Waqf properties and then take further actions.”
UP government’s idea of Waqf property survey has invited fresh criticism, with AIMIM terming it a move “intended to target the Muslims”. AIMIM national spokesperson Syed Asim Waqar said, “Waqf survey is a bigger NRC as compared to madrassa survey. Government is intended to target the Muslims. Why no survey against big Hindu mutts and trusts?”
ALSO READ: AIMPLB Alleges Private Madrasa Survey in UP a ‘Nefarious Attempt’ to Create Distance Between Communities
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, meanwhile, said that Waqf property survey is for “benefit of poor Muslims. Opposing it are those who don’t want welfare of poor Muslims.”
Maurya said there are a lot of complaints about mafia taking over precious waqf land, adding that once the survey is over, the state will decide what to do with such land under Waqf.
Samajwadi Party, BJP’s arch rival in the UP, seemed to be in favour of action against land mafias but added that encroached land should be dealt with the same way, be it a mosque or a temple.
SP leader Rakesh Singh said that the party “is in favour of action against all land mafias. Whatever land has been encroached, should be taken back. Mandir or masjid both should be dealt in the same way”.
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