Government seeking to construct on waqf lands another concern

3 months ago 29

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The Telangana State Waqf Board (TSWB), in the past few months, has grappled with at least three instances of the government either suggesting construction, or having allegedly started construction work on waqf land parcels.

The latest incident was reported to the TSWB earlier this month at the Ashoorkhana Imam Qasim and Nal Sahab, spread over an acre and 34 guntas in Yousufguda Basti. The construction was allegedly being carried out by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for a new Basti Dawakhana. As a result, the board inspected the site, followed by TSWB chief executive officer Shahnawaz Qasim writing a letter to GHMC Zonal Commissioner, Khairtabad, urging a cancellation of building permission, if one was accorded.

In a similar incident, the Waqf Tribunal halted construction and ordered that status quo be maintained at Masjid-e-Almaspet in Chotuppal mandal. Petitioner and waqf protection activist Osman bin Mohammed Al Hajiri had stated that the land parcel was dug for the construction of a panchayat office. The respondents in the case were the District Collector of Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri, Revenue Divisional Officer of Chotuppal division, Chotuppal Mandal Tahsildar, and Devulamma Nagaram village sarpanch.

In the third such instance, Revenue Department and GHMC officials inspected a land parcel endowed to Tharthare Shah graveyard in Bansilalpet in August, exploring the possibility of constructing 16 units of the Dignity Housing scheme, over 375 square yards. A joint site visit by TSWB chairman Mohammed Saleem and Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav was done as well.

However, there has been no development since.

One of the reasons why government authorities tend to lock horns with the TSWB, a board member opined, is the widely prevailing misconception that ownership of waqf land parcels rests with the board. This, he said, is far from the truth.

“The reality is that the TSWB is a supervisory or administrative body. It does not own any land. Its job is to look into whether waqf properties are being utilised per the mansha (object) of waqf, and to keep encroachments at bay. While there have been occasions during which the government has come to the aid of the board, we also know that on many others, it has given away prime waqf lands for other uses many years ago. These cases are still being fought in courts of law,” the board member requesting anonymity said.

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Fast Legal Services in Dubai

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