December 31, 2020

A divisive idea of separate waqf boards in J&K

The much hyped noises about the constitution of separate Waqf Boards for Suni and Shiite muslim shrines in Jammu & Kashmir by the union ministers during their campaigning for DDC candidates of the party ruling at the centre has deepened doubts about the abortive attempts of the incumbent central government to polarise the unpolarised muslim community in the muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir. Such a highly controversial decision could also give non J&K residents access to muslim waqf properties in Jammu & Kashmir presently better managed and administered by J&K Waqf Board. Interestingly the control of the muslim shrines that used to be with the erstwhile National Conference controlled J&K Muslim Awaq trust until 2002 was over taken by the J&K Government during the reign of erstwhile Mufti Mohammad Sayeed PDP-Congress coalition Government in Jammu & Kashmir and Attal Bihari Vajpayee headed BJP led NDA Government at the centre. So once more the Narendra Modi BJP led government at the centre is trying to undo yet another historical decision of the erstwhile Mufti Mohammad Sayeed controlled J&K Government taken by it with the consent and approval of the erstwhile Attal Bihari Vajpayee controlled Government at the centre. Ultimately the central government directly controlling the Jammu & Kashmir Government through Lt Governor is dropping hints of laying it’s hands on Suni and Shiite wafq properties in Jammu & Kashmir by constituting new waqf boards in Jammu & Kashmir. The very first move of creating separate suni and Shiite waqf boards is controversial keeping in view the ages old spirit of suni-shiite mutual religious bonding in Jammu & Kashmir. Moreover the separate managements of the sunni and Shiite wafq properties would create only conflicts instead of providing solutions to conflicts that may arise at a later stage.

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Keeping in view the public concerns over the use of waqf properties  the only issue left unattended so for is improvement in the conduct of the audit of the accounts of the waqf properties controlled by already established Jammu & Kashmir Waqf Board. A better audit system of the accounts of the muslim waqf properties and not the creation of separate suni and Shiite waqf boards just to politicise the waqf board management issue is advisable for the government.

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Any tinkering with the land use procedures of the suni and Shiite waqf properties by the proposed new suni and Shiite waqf boards would not only be an unwelcome move but would most likely trigger provocations from both the suni and Shiite muslims in Jammu & Kashmir. Interestingly the construction of a corporate building by a business tycoon of the country believed to be very close to the party ruling at the centre on waqf land in Mumbai the financial capital of the country triggered a controversy in Mahrashtra the time when BJP was running a government in alliance with Shiv Sena in Mahrashtra just two years ago. So keeping in view the public concerns over the use of waqf properties  the only issue left unattended so for is improvement in the conduct of the audit of the accounts of the waqf properties controlled by already established Jammu & Kashmir Waqf Board. A better audit system of the accounts of the muslim waqf properties and not the creation of separate suni and Shiite waqf boards just to politicise the waqf board management issue is advisable for the government.

 

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