Land grabbing: Minister in soup
EVEN AS firebrand Cabinet minister Azam Khan was trying to steer clear of charges of land-grabbing at a Rampur cemetery, yet another minister in the Mulayam Cabinet is in the eye of the storm over grabbing graveyard land in Azamgarh.india Updated: May 03, 2006 00:58 IST
EVEN AS firebrand Cabinet minister Azam Khan was trying to steer clear of charges of land-grabbing at a Rampur cemetery, yet another minister in the Mulayam Cabinet is in the eye of the storm over grabbing graveyard land in Azamgarh.
The situation has reached such a pass that the entire Samajwadi Party unit of the district is up in arms against Minister for Higher Education Ram Asrey Vishwkarma. Partymen have planned a massive demonstration against him on Wednesday. They have also threatened to resign en masse from the party, if immediate action is not taken against the minister.
Partymen alleged that the district administration, including the district magistrate, was hand in glove with Vishwakarma in land-grabbing at the over 500-year-old graveyard.
Vishwkarma is getting a school building constructed adjacent to a cemetery at Gaddapur village in Phoolpur tehsil in Azamgarh. The school has been illegally ‘extended’ over about one bigha of land that is part of the graveyard. Local Muslims have been opposing the minister’s bid to forcibly take possession of the land. Many of them wept when bones were recovered as a part of the ‘grabbed’ land was dug up.
According to local SP leader Ehsan Ahmad, who is spearheading the anti-minister campaign, though the disputed land belonged to one Abrar Ahmad and his wife in revenue records, it was being used as a graveyard since time immemorial.
The minister reportedly ‘bought’ the land from Abrar, allegedly without paying him. He just promised to get a government job for Abrar’s son.
The land was first transferred in the name of the minister’s father, who later transferred it in the name of his son-Ram Asrey Vishwakarma for a school building.
Ehsan said that there were a number plots in every districts in which cemeteries, temples, ‘maths’ etc. were situated for hundreds of years, but the same were shown in revenue records as private properties.