Castigating Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Waqaf Board for not adhering to any standard or equal procedure in respect of the Imams (Religious Clerics) working under their authority and control, State Human Rights Commission Tuesday recommended to State Government, J&K Muslim Wakaf Board and all other Heads of Auqafs and Mohallas in the J&K to at least maintain and pay a minimum salary of Rs 12,000, to each Imaam, Naib-i-Imaam and Rs. 10,000 to Moazins and Rs. 8000 to other persons who are performing their religious duties as full time job.
Acting upon a complaint filed by one Mir Mubashir Shuja, General Secretary, J&K People’s Forum in which complainant had sought indulgence of the Commission regarding a pathetic incident in which a mother, who happened to be the wife of an Imaam namely Molvi Iftikhar Ahmad of Gurez, slaughtered her two infants and thereafter attempted to commit suicide. The two infant victims were the son and daughter of the Imaam leading the prayers at Bemina Srinagar in a local mosque where he was being paid an honorarium of Rs. 5500 per month and was putting up with his family in a godown type shed completely uninhabitable for human beings.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the argument of Waqaf Board, SHRC acting chairman Rafiq Fida said that the Imaam assumes the most respectable and highly regarded place in the society and it is he who leads in our prayers and in charge of religious activities of mosque. The Commission stated that the Imam is considered to be well dignified personality of the society and is given due respect and regard by the Muslim community as a whole.
It said that the list provided comprises of 55 Shrines where Imaams, Naib-i-Imaams and Mozins and miserably discloses that the Wakaf Bopard has applied different yardsticks and criteria for these Imaams in respect of their salaries which under the present circumstances and market pricing touching sky can never be expected to be sufficient for a person to sustain with family. The J&K Wakaf Board has not prescribed any Regulations or a uniform standard in respect of the salary of the Imaams, Naib-i-Imaams, Moazins and others who work in the mosques. The Imaams have every right to live with dignity and honor.
The Commission while recommending a salary of Rs 12,000 per month to an Imaam has forwarded its judgment copies to the State Government through Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary to Government, Department of Hajj & Auqaf, J&K, Chairman and Secretary J&K Muslim Wakaf Board and to all the Patwaries and Ta’meelies of Police Department through District Administration and District Police who will ensure that this judgment is distributed to each and every Head of Mohalla and Auqaf Committees in their respective Districts and jurisdictions of Police Stations.