‘Waqf Board Chief Faces Criminal Charges’

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Urging the government to come out with full facts on the reported theft in Hazratbal shrine the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Saturday demanded a thorough probe into the functioning of the Muslim Waqf Board. In a statement today the chief spokesperson of the party Naeem Akhtar said the reported pilferage of copper plates used in the dome of the shrine has hurt the sentiments of the devout apart from the loss caused to the community.

Akhtar said there should be a proper criminal investigation into the theft and people should be taken into confidence on this highly sensitive matter. It seems the Waqf authorities are trying to shield the culprits as there might be more skeletons in their own cupboard he said. “It is a case of breach of faith and borders on disrespect more than a usual theft and deserves a very serious action” Akhtar added.

Referring to the general decline in the functioning of the Board ever since the present government assumed office, Akhtar said it has been in news only for wrong reasons all through the past four years. If the employees are not on strike then a highly revered shrine like that of Dastgeer Saheb would go up in flames or another like that of Naqshband saheb would be vandalised in the name of expansion. All the progressive programs started by the Board after its initial constitution have been stopped, he said.

Akhtar said the mismanagement of Waqf Board under the present dispensation started with the constitution of the new Board itself in 2009 when it was packed with politicians and favourites who replaced a carefully selected group of professionals, businessmen and academics who had no personal axe to grind. They had agreed to be members only to assist the community in turning around an institution that had for decades been misused and exploited for the interest of a few. The first victims of the new board were the welfare schemes introduced following the take over like providing rations to destitutes, up gradation of educational institutions, procurement of ambulances, provision of prosthetic aid to the disabled and projects like the development of Eidgah. A university was established within no time which is serving a large number of students with distinction, he added.

Akhtar said the approach of the NC led government to the Waqf has been the same as it was when it was under the family run trust of Abdullahs. The fact that they selected a person of highly questionable integrity as its chief executive and vice chairman even as he was facing investigation by the crime branch on very serious charges earned by him during an earlier re employment left no one in doubt about the way Omar Abdullah wanted to run this important institution related to people’s faith. Cases are pending against Mr Qadri under sections 420, 468 and 201 RPC for cheating, forgery and destruction of evidence Akhtar said.

Akhtar said given such supervision and leadership, more than the copper plates and donations received by the the Board are at risk. He said Waqf with its considerable asset base has a great scope for transformation into a real instrument of community welfare as had been demonstrated in its initial days. But given its top leadership it is going down like everything under the present government.

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