The Centre has started a campaign on war-footing to free the Waqf properties from the clutches of “illegal occupants” across the country so that Waqf properties can be used for the purpose these were meant for i.e welfare of the Muslim community and their socio-economic-educational empowerment. The Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said this while chairing the 74th meeting of Central Waqf Council here today. The Minister said that serious complaints of illegal occupation of Waqf properties in connivance with officials of State Waqf Boards have been received from some States. Shri Naqvi said that a high-level inquiry is going on and strict legal action will be taken against encroachers no matter how much powerful they are.
He said that after taking independent charge one of his priority steps taken includes protection and development of Waqf properties. Several State Governments have been cooperating well in this regard. There are 31 State Waqf Boards and more than 4,27,000 registered Waqf properties across the country. But there are many non-registered waqf properties. Several Waqf properties in some states are in clutches of “encrochers”.
The Minister directed all the State Waqf Boards that all the Waqf properties be registered on-line by this year-end and their information should be available in a transparent manner. The Minority Affairs Ministry has also provided financial assistance to State Waqf Boards for the purpose. Several states have been working very well in this regard but some are not showing desired seriousness in online registration of Waqf properties, he added.
Shri Naqvi said that to deal with complaints regarding Waqf properties, one-man “Board of Adjudication” will be established soon at the Centre level to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice or retired High Court Chief Justice. Three-member Tribunals are being established in the States. About 15-16 states have established these tribunals, others should also do this soon, the Minister desired.
Shri Naqvi said that the Minority Affairs Ministry, in cooperation with the State Governments, will construct schools, colleges, malls, hospitals, skill development centres etc and revenue generated will be utilized for educational and other developmental activities for the Muslim community. Multi-purpose community centres “Sadbhav Mandap” will also be constructed on waqf land which will be utilized for marriage ceremonies, exhibitions and also relief centres during a calamity.