Samajwadi Party benefits from the power struggle in Shia community

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Lucknow, which is the epicentre of Shia community in India is witnessing a power struggle these days. Different groups of the Shia community are busy in slamming each other in the battle of one-upmanship.

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The Shia Central Board of Waqfs (SCBW) has become the centre to showcase one’s strength.

It all started when an alleged graveyard scam as claimed by the former chairman, SCBW Syed Waseem Rizvi was unearthed in Lucknow. Rizvi brought to the fore that grave land is being sold at a premium in Imambara, Ghufran Maab. The graveyard is registered as waqf with SCBW and eminent Shia cleric and Imam-e-Juma Kalbe Jawwad is its mutawalli. The claims were even substantiated by written complaints. Some other clerics too joined and stated that such scam has become the order of the day.

Rizvi did not stop here only. He served notices to Maulana Jawwad, none of them were answered. Finally Maulana Jawwad too started an agitation against Syed Waseem Rizvi and demanded that he be removed from the chairmanship of SCBW. The war of words between the two turned into a show of strength.

Meanwhile, Rizvi who was the chairman of SCBW started a probe in the graveyards of Lucknow. During the probe, it was found that Lucknow once had 47 Shia graveyards which were registered with SCBW. Among them 31 of them have been sold/encroached. Again Maulana Jawwad figured as Mutawwalli in two such waqfs which lost their existence. However, Jawwad denies that he was ever such mutawalli.

Due to the shortage of graveyards, there is a mad rush to book space in graveyards. There is an advance booking and one can also find grave agents who do business on lines of property dealers. Several graveyards have graves which show that the space is reserved.

With the whole tide against him, Jawwad stepped up the steam against Rizvi. He resigned from Imam-e-Juma demanding that Rizvi be removed.

Meanwhile Rizvi played his cards well and tied up with Minister for Minority Welfare and Waqf Azam Khan. Rizvi for pleasing him even went to Rampur and stayed there for few days and inspected the Shahi Waqf which is under the mutawalliship of Congress MLA and Nawab of Rampur Naved Kazim Ali. Not to mention that Nawab Naved Kazim is an adversary of Azam Khan. Seven waqfs under Shahi Waqf were served notice and one Hussaini Sarai was even ordered to be razed. Naved was removed as Mutawalli. The action gave Rizvi enough time and space and he continued on his post.

Finally, there was the trump card by Jawwad. The march to CM’s residence if his demands are not met. Once they reached till Hazratganj only to return. Later, after hectic parleys, it was finally conceded. Rizvi was forced to resign, then he was expelled from Samajwadi Party and later an administrator appointed in SCBW. “The corruption won, I lost,” said Rizvi as he left the office.

Presently, a CB-CID enquiry is going on in the affairs of Waqf. The Board of 13 members is dissolved. Administrator S M A Rizvi, a PCS official is looking after the affairs.

Supporters of Maulana Jawwad can relax as they can now claim it to be their victory. Supporters of Rizvi may utilise their time to regroup.

But the real gainer is the ruling Samajwadi Party. It is too pleased that Muslims are happy after their demands are met. A demand for which the government did not offer anything. Further, by sidelining Rizvi, it had also taken care of Azam Khan as Rizvi was regarded Azam’s man. And above all, the control still remains in its hand with the ongoing enquiry by CB-CID.