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Now, Shia Waqf Board to stake claim on Babri land

The decision to move the court laying claim to the disputed property in the temple town was taken at a two-day meeting of the board

lucknow Updated: Jul 28, 2017 19:07 IST
M Tariq Khan
M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Babri masjid,Shia Waqf Board,Ayodhya
The UP Shia Central Waqf Board has now decided to stake its claim to the disputed site in Ayodhya(HT file photo)

In a new twist to the Babri Masjid Ram Janambhoomi issue, the UP Shia Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB) has now decided to stake its claim to the disputed site in Ayodhya. The decision to move court laying claim to the disputed property in the temple town was taken at a two-day meeting of the board, which concluded on Thursday.

“The board has authorised me to pursue the case, which we lost in 1945 to Sunni Waqf Board because of the sloppy manner in which it was dealt by our then council,” Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi told Hindustan Times.

He said both Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards had filed a suit number 29 before the civil judge Faizabad staking claim to the Masjid Mir Baqi aka as Babri Masjid in 1945.

“We lost the case as our counsel was not fully conversant with the facts of the case. Before 1945, the mosque was looked after by Shia caretakers. Sunni custodians were appointed only after we lost the court case as proper facts were not forward by our counsel,” said Rizvi.

“The premise on which the civil judge based his verdict was ‘tarawih’ (extra prayers offered by Muslims during Ramzan). It was wrongly argued that Shias do not offer ‘tarawih’ and since this practice was going on in the mosque, it belonged to the Sunnis,” he said.

The UPSCW chief said that now that he has been authorised by the board to pursue the matter afresh he would be moving the civil court in Faizabad as well as the Supreme Court in the matter soon.

FIR against minister

In a separate decision, the Shia Waqf Board ordered registration of an FIR against minister of state for Waqf and Haj Mohsin Raza for illegal purchase of waqf property in the state capital.

“The board has ordered registration of FIRs in 11 matters related to illegal sale and purchase of waqf properties. Those against whom action has been initiated include Raza and his relatives. A letter is being sent to both district magistrate and SSP Lucknow to register a case against them for illegally purchasing waqf property,” said Rizvi.

A case for restoration of waqf property back to the board would be registered and those found guilty could be awarded an imprisonment of three-years.

Both Raza and Rizvi are locked in a battle to gain control of the board. The Yogi government had removed six members of the Shia Waqf Board in June and was planning to dissolve both Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards. But the Allahabad high court struck down its order and reinstated the sacked members on the ground that the members were not provided an opportunity to put forward their views, a clause mandatory in the Waqf Act, 1995.

Board chief Rizvi said the case where registration of FIR against the UP minister had been ordered is related to the property of Waqf Moti Masjid in Hussainabad.

A case against Raza for illegal sale of Waqf property in Unnao is also pending. Raza was removed as the caretaker of this property on Thursday by the board.

The instant case relates to the waqf property he (Raza) bought and has now built his house on in Hussainabad locality,” he said. The UPSCWB has nine members, six of who were present at the board meeting which took the decision to proceed against the minister.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 19:07 IST