AP Govt returns prime land to Waqf to placate Muslims

via Omer Farooq | Hyderabad - Daily Pioneer published on February 11, 2009





In
an unprecedented gesture towards the Muslim minority of Andhra Pradesh,
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy on Wednesday returned 50 acres of
prime land to the State Waqf Board, which had become a bone of
contention between the board and the State Revenue department.

The
value of the land, under the Pahadi Shareef Dargha in Mamidipally
village in Ranga Reddy district is estimated to be Rs 300 crore. The
Chief Minister formally handed over the papers of the land to the Waqf
Board in the presence of prominent leaders of Muslim community,
including Hyderabad member of Lok Sabha Asaduddin Owaisi, president and
secretary of Muslim Joint Action Committee Moulana Hameeduddin Hussami
and Moulana Abdul Raheem Qureshi and others.

About 100 acres
of Waqf land was allotted to the State Housing Board by the Government
back in 2007 evoking strong protest from the Muslim community as it was
a Waqf property. But the Revenue department insisted that it was a
Government land. Later, the Housing Board had handed over the land to
its subsidiary Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holding company.

The
Chief Minister said that the Government will also consider returning
the remaining land to the Waqf Board. Referring to the several other
Waqf properties under the government and the private encroachment, the
Chief Minister said that the Government was assessing them and they
will also be returned to the board soon. “We are trying our best to
strengthen the Waqf Board in the State so that it could protect the
Waqf property meant for the welfare of the Muslim minority,” he said.

Mohammed
Ali Shabbir, the State Minister for Energy and Minority Welfare said
that ever since Congress came to power Waqf properties were being
protected. “We are trying to ensure proper use of the properties for
the welfare of the community”, he said. Shabbir said that the
government had initiated several welfare measures for the Muslim
community. There was 5307 acres of Waqf land in Visakhapatnam part of
which was allotted to Hindujas but it has also been recovered, he said.
The government was also setting up 14 pre metric and post metric hostel
for the minority community, he said

Welcoming the Government’s
decision member of Lok Sabha Asaduddin Owaisi said that it was for the
first time in the history that the Government was returning the Waqf
property to the board. “Till now the governments had only damaged the
waqf property,” he said. He urged the Chief Minister to return the
building to the Waqf Board which was rented out to the police
department and was later encroached by the police task force.

The
extraordinary move of returning the prime Waqf property by issuing GO
No 141, is being seen as an attempt to bring the Muslim minority
further closer to the ruling Congress ahead of the State election.

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