Muslim activists initiate movement to evict encroachers from Wakf properties.
By Mohammed Wajihuddin
Mumbai: Dismayed by the Maharahstra government’s lackadaisical attitude to stop encroachments on Wakf properties, some Muslim activists have launched a movement, Tehreek-e-Awkaf (Movement for Wakf Properties), to save the same.
The activists will press for protection of Wakf properties and registration of all endowments in the state like mosques, dargahs and graveyards as Wakf properties. The movement will also push the government to remove encroachments and pay market value of the Wakf properties, in possession of government departments, to the Wakf Board. Maharashtra has around 92,000 acres of Wakf property, worth Rs 4.5 lakh crore. “Despite having so much land worth so many crores, the Wakf board does not have a proper office in Mumbai. The Aurangabad office runs with a skeletal staff of over just two dozen. We are forced to start the campaign as governments, since Independence have failed to protect Wakf properties which Muslims have endowed for the welfare of community members,” said All India Muslim OBC Organisation leader, Shabbir Ansari, who is also leading the campaign to protect Wakf properties.
Spiritual leader Maulana Syed Moin Ashraf (Moin Mian), who is patronising the movement, said many Muslim individuals and institutions have connived with government officials to grab Wakf properties. Referring to a graveyard land at Chhota Sonapur in Grant Road, Moin Mian said, 345 shops have been illegally built on the graveyard. “A Wakf member had planned to sell an Eidgah land at Chhota Sonapur to a developer. Timely intervention saved the property,” he said, adding he will soon expose those behind grabbing of Wakf land. The activists have planned meetings and awareness sessions across the state about how to protect Wakf properties from land grabbers.