Wakf land scam: Wall around encroached land razed in Bathinda, DC orders FIR against accused
Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Navin Singla on Sunday confirmed that a case was being registered against five colonisers.punjab Updated: Jun 07, 2017 09:49 IST
The Bathinda district administration has demolished the boundary walls of the illegal plots carved over the vast area of the Wakf Board land here, including a graveyard, while the police have initiated a move to lodge an FIR against the colonisers who sold plots to the illiterate poor.
Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Navin Singla on Sunday confirmed that a case was being registered against five colonisers.
The two-pronged action came after the HT’s news report ‘Wakf land scam: Flood reveals encroachment of graveyard by colonisers’, was published on June 2.
On Saturday, Bathinda deputy commissioner (DC) and Wakf Board officials ordered the demolition drive under which the boundaries of the illegal plots were razed.
“Nobody came forward to claim the land,” DC Diprava Lakra told HT, while adding that he had written to the SSP to lodge an FIR against the colonisers on a complaint of Bathinda Wakf Board officials.
The case would be registered under various sections of IPC related to encroachment, fraud, besides the relevant clauses of the Central Wakf Board Act-1995, police said.
WAKF LAW AND THE ASSETS
Meanwhile, social activist and whistleblower Nagina Begum, who exposed the land scam along with HT, has demanded setting up of all “mandatory assets” such as a mosque, a shelter for the poor, a school for the underprivileged Muslim children on the 18 acres of the encroached land along the graveyard. The encroachment dates back to at least a decade.
“These facilities for the Mulsim community are mandatory as mentioned in the Wakf Board Act-1995,” she pointed out, adding that it was only after the matter came up in the media on Friday that the local Wakf Board officials and the district administration came into action.
Punjab Wakf Board chief executive order (CEO) Lateef Ahmed confirmed the said clauses as mentioned in the Act.
Wakf (or waqf) essentially means dedication of any property for a purpose recognised by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable. The board is custodian of such properties, including graveyards.
A POLITICAL CONNECT
The accused in the land grab case included former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillor Rajesh Kumar alias Bittu Gandhi, whose wife Chandni is now a Congress councillor in Gidderbaha. Gandhi had been a SAD councillor till 2011. He later joined Manpreet Badal’s People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) and came along with Manpreet into the Congress fold. The other accused are Vijay Kumar, Dev Raj and Sanjeev Kumar, all hailing from Gidderbaha town, and Bathinda resident Kamaljit Kaur.