In a move that could escalate the ongoing turf war between state government and Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards, the Central Waqf Council has asked UP to dissolve the two boards and appoint an inquiry commission to probe alleged irregularities of the present managements.
In his two-page report sent to chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, secretary of central waqf council BM Jamal said as the charges against the chairman and members were very serious, the UP Government may appoint an administrator to take over these boards. “Under the Waqf Act 1995, the state government is empowered to supersede the boards by invoking its powers under section 99, appoint an administrator and order an inquiry under the commission of inquiry Act,” says the report.
Minister of state for minorities, waqf and Haj, Mohsin Raza confirmed that the report had been received from the council. “Yes, we have got the report. It levels very serious charges against the management. We are looking into the matter and an appropriate decision would be taken very soon,” he told HT.
The report states that the State Waqf Board was not providing any information to the Central Waqf Council despite repeated reminders and requests to do so. Consequently, after BJP government came to power in the state, Central Waqf Council member Syed Ejaz Abbas visited both Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards between March 21 to March 24 and later submitted a 36-page report.
The report indicted the managements on several counts and said the boards misused their powers and failed to comply with the directions of the Central Waqf Council. One of the charges related to non-cooperation of these boards to implement the computerisation scheme for waqf boards.
This was followed up with a registration of criminal cases in connection with some waqf properties against the chairman of Shia Waqf Board and others. Fearing action, Shia Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi, regarded close to former waqf minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, had moved an application before the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on his arrest. The plea, however, was dismissed.