Chief parliamentary secretary Neesara Khatoon, who is an MLA from Malerkotla, has released a grant of Rs. 10 lakh to Imarat-e-Shariya, a body for the welfare of the Muslim community. In the past, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had refused any grants to religious bodies, including Imarat-e-Shariya.
On Thursday, Khatoon, along with her husband, former DGP Mohammad Izhar Alam, who is also the chairman of Punjab wakf board, distributed discretionary grants worth Rs. 1.25 crore for several development works. Khatoon said the Rs. 10-lakh grant had been provided for a convent school to be started under the Imarat-e-Shariya.
During the Imarat-e-Shariya conference on March 3, in which Badal was the chief guest, Alam and Khatoon had sought Rs. 50-lakh grant for the Muslim body from Punjab government, but Badal was unmoved. “I have no money for gurdwaras, temples or mosques and for other religious institutions. Tell me if you have any plan for the development of community, I will allocate enough money,” Badal had said at that time. The CM even left the function mid-way after Alam interrupted him during his speech, urging him (Badal) to announce grant for the building.
After CM left the venue, Khatoon announced that she would provide Rs. 10 lakh for the purpose.
When contacted Khatoon said the grant would be used for the construction of convent school building under Imarat-e-Shariya. “Badal sahib ne mana kar diya tha, lekin maine apni tarraf se grant de di hai, taki kuchh bhala ho sake (Badal sahib had refused, but I gave the money on my own for the welfare of people),” she said.
“The children of poor people would be able to get quality education once the convent school was ready,” she said.