Jahanabad Qabrastan development plan not getting support from Waqf Board

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

Patna: Waqf properties worth billions of rupees across the country are either encroached upon by government offices or individuals – both Muslims and Non-Muslims – or are lying unprotected inviting encroachment. Chairmen of waqf boards in all states hardly bother about recovery and safety of waqf properties. Bihar is not an exception.

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The Makhdoompur Unta Qabrastan (Waqf Registration No. 1954) in Makhdoomabad area of Jahanabad district in Bihar was rescued from the clutch of encroachers after a long legal battle in 1999-2000. There were 13 illegal 2-story buildings on the land of the graveyard that spreads over 17 katthas of land. After the Patna High Court order, nine of the illegal buildings were demolished. Cases of remaining four are still pending in court.

Thereafter, Mr. Mohammad Jamal Rahmani, Secretary of Makhdoompur Unta Qabrastan Committee, worked hard to get funds sanctioned for the fencing of the graveyard to keep it from future encroachments. He got success and a boundary wall around the graveyard barring the four buildings was erected 3 years back.

The graveyard is located at Patna-Gaya Highway. Mr. Rahmani has come up with a development plan for the graveyard in order to create a regular source of income for the upkeep of the graveyard and to avert any future encroachment. He planned construction of some shops along the boundary wall and came up to the Bihar Sunni Waqf Board with the plan. He informed minority affairs minister Shahid Ali Khan about the plan and he agreed to ask the Waqf Board to come up with the proposal but the Waqf Board has not taken any interest in it.

Disheartened with the cold behavior of the board, Mr Rahmani filed an RTI with the board head office in Patna on 28th July 2011 seeking information about the minister’s order and action of the board thereon but more than two months later, the board has not replied to the RTI petition.

Through RTI, Mr Rahmani sought details of the development proposal for waqf property no. 1954. Some other questions were: What was the order of the minority affairs minster regarding this waqf plot? When was the estimate of the development project sent to the minority affairs minister? If estimate not sent to the minister what is its reasons? Why is the plan for Waqf 1954 gathering dust yet?

Why don’t waqf boards chairmen take interest in protecting and developing waqf properties? Mr. Rahmani says: “Waqf Board chairmen know about encroachments and illegal capture but they do not speak because they do not want to lose their post, perks and power. They assume post just for power, not for development of waqf properties.” Can any waqf board chairman refute the charge?