The 654-acre plot at Dapoli in Konkan, owned by the Hazrat Pir Yakub Babar Trust and testimony to the warrior’s secular ideals, is at the centre of a controversy.
It is believed that Shivaji donated the land to a Sufi saint by the same name to be used for benefit of the local Muslim community.
After nearly two centuries, the government has found bauxite ore here and, under the mining act, has handed over the lease of 113 acres of this plot to a private miner. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena legislator Bala Nandgaokar expressed his objections in the Assembly on Thursday, questioning the state’s motives behind leasing out the land.
A tomb, dargah, mosque and coconut plantations stand on the land, as do several encroachments. Minority Development Minister Naseem Khan told Hindustan Times on Friday that details of the ownership and transfer of the land have come to light and it is wakf property since it was donated for benefit of the Muslim community. “I have asked the wakf board to the probe the matter,’’ Khan said, adding that the land was testimony to Shivaji’s greatness as a secular ruler.
The wakf board is a statutory board under the wakf Act that manages all properties that have been permanently dedicated to the interests of the Muslim community.
Government sources said the Zilla Parishad gazette has information about the ownership and transfer of this land and since Shivaji donated it to the Sufi saint, it would come under purview of the wakf board.
Royalty from mining bauxite, in this case, would also go to the wakf board and not the government. The move is likely to see the Revenue department headed by Congress leader Narayan Rane and Khan’s Minority Development ministry fight over this source of revenue.