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Bring Waqf properties under Public Premises Act

says Syed Wali Rahmani, demands rent as per market rate

Thursday January 05, 2012 07:21:08 PM, Staff Reporter

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Malegaon: Eyeing an improved tally in the forthcoming assembly elections especially in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to claim itself as the only saviour of the Muslims. But community leaders in a nationwide campaign against Waqf Amendment Bill, RTE Act and Direct Taxes Code Bill are raising serious doubts over the ruling party’s claim.

Continuing the verbal onslaught against the UPA government, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPBL) secretary Maulana Syed Mohd Wali Rahmani, who is on a visit to Malegaon, criticised the Congress party for ignoring the amendments in the Waqf Amendment Bill (2010) suggested by the board, and various other panels and committees.

“On one hand, Congress ministers claim that the government is working hard to stop misuse of the waqf properties, on the other, the same ministers overlook our longstanding demands and recommendations, which are also supported by the panels and committees formed by their own government, for a stronger Waqf Act”, he said while addressing a rally Wednesday night in Malegaon. The rally called to press the government for bring in amendments in the RTE Act 2009, Waqf Amendment Bill (2010) and the proposed Direct Taxes Code Bill, was attended by hundreds of people.

The All Indian Muslim Law Board (AIMPLB) is demanding since more than a decade a stronger Waqf Act for the safety of the Waqf properties – that according to an estimate are thousands of acres of lands spread all across the country. Claiming that most of these properties are either encroached over or are paid over a very small amount in the form of rent by the tenants, the AIMPLB is demanding suitable amendments in the Waqf Amendment Bill (2010). The bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and is now lying with the Steering Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

“One demand… just one demand. If you are really serious, bring the Waqf Properties under the Public Premises Act and pay the rent of the Waqf properties as per the fair market rate. Accept this and we will never ask anything from you”, he demanded from the government.

Waqf at a glance
The institution of Waqf in India is 800 years old. Literally, Waqf means endowment of moveable or immovable property by Muslims for the welfare of the poor and the needy and for maintaining properties dedicated to mosques, tombs, orphanages, shrines, Madaris and the like. Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and chairman of the joint parliamentary committee on Wakf, K. Rahman Khan says, this makes the Waqf Boards – in total 35 located in different parts of the country, the third-largest landholder after the railways and defence. In his report, he estimated number of registered Waqf properties in India as 3, 00,000 and as much as 4 lakh acres of land.

Waqf Reforms
The Waqf Act was introduced first time in 1954 and went through various amendments in 1969, 1984 and 1995. As per the promise made in its election manifesto, Congress again proposed amendments in the act and passed Waqf Amendment Bill (2010) in the Lok Sabha on May 07, 2010. The bill, which now waits Rajya Sabha nod, came after the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakf headed by RS Dy Chairman K Rahman Khan presented its report. Suggestions from other Muslim organistations including the All India Muslim Law Board (AIMPLB) were also sought.

AIMPLB Grievances
AIMPLB is not satisfied with the Waqf Amendment Bill (2010) and feels, the act is still not strong enough to provide safety and avoid misuse of the Waqf properties. It also expresses strong reservations over some of the sections in the bill, especially the idea of the Waqf Development Authority included in the bill. The boards also says that its longstanding demands to bring the Waqf properties under Public Premises’ Act and fair rent as per the market rate are key, but they are being ignored by the government.






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Picture of the Day

Braving chilling cold, more than 10,000 people thronged the venue of the rally called by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Malegaon on January 04, 2012. The AIMPLB is carrying a nationwide campaign demanding amendments in the Right to Education Act and the proposed Direct Taxes Code Bill, and for a stronger Waqf Act.




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