Wakf boards should perform or they will be dissolved: Govt

New Delhi: Taking a serious view of grabbing of Wakf land at various places, the government on Wednesday sent out a strong warning to Wakf boards, saying they should perform or they would be dissolved.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla also suggested “blackening” the face of a Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA for allegedly encroaching Waqf properties in Bhopal.

Addressing inaugural session of ‘National Conference of Chairpersons and CEOs of State Waqf Boards’ here, she asked representatives of Madhya Pradesh Waqf board to organise protest against legislator Arif Aqueel for allegedly grabbing Waqf properties worth Rs 500 crore.

The Minister noted “some board members” have encroached upon properties of boards in different states and made a strong pitch for action against them.

She expressed anguish over representatives of Waqf boards from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and poll-bound Assam not turning up for the conference and accused them of lacking “interest and seriousness” towards issues concerning the communities.

“If any Waqf board is not performing then I will recommend its dissolution. I will ask Chief Ministers of state governments to form new Waqf boards as the existing ones are not performing,” she said.

Responding to complaints made by a representative of Meghalaya, the minister said, “If you (state boards representatives) have problems with state governments, let me know. There is nothing to be afraid of.”

During the meeting, Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board chairman Shaukat Mohammed Khan accused Aqueel, also a member of the state board, of encroaching upon 34 acre Waqf property. Khan claimed the Bhopal property costs over Rs 500 crore and asked the Centre to press state government for action against the MLA.

Responding to the same, Heptulla asked Khan to give his complaint in writing and assured she will take up the matter with state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

“See, let me tell you. There are several ways (of dealing against those encroaching/grabbing on properties). One is legal option and the other is Gandhian way.

“How many of you have gone there and staged dharna? How many of you staged agitation? This belongs to our communities. These (properties) are our heritage. Why don’t you organise people, (against) this man’s encroachment? His face should be blackened before public for he has grabbed property worth Rs 500 crore,” she said.

The Minister asked representative of different boards to “agitate” against wrongdoings and “speak up” on issues troubling them so that solution can be worked out.