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For the first time in over two decades in Uttar Pradesh,a Hindu minister will be in charge of the Haj pilgrimage.

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: March 22, 2012 2:39 am

Appoints Hindu minister for Haj,Waqf depts

For the first time in over two decades in Uttar Pradesh,a Hindu minister will be in charge of the Haj pilgrimage. Muzaffarnagar MLA Chittranjan Swaroop has been attached as minister of state with cabinet minister Azam Khan who heads the Haj and Waqf Departments.

“I only pray to my bhagwan that the Haj pilgrimage passes off peacefully,and that all devotees return safe from the pilgrimage. My prarthana to my bhagwan is to give me strength so I am able to serve them and perform my duty,” Swaroop said.

Muslim clerics see no harm in Swaroop’s appointment. “A person should perform his duty with honesty. It doesn’t matter if the minister is Hindu as long as he performs his duty with dedication,” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli,Imam at Lucknow’s Aishbagh Eidgah and a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

Naib Imam of Tile Wali Masjid,Maulana Abdul Mannan Waizi,said,“We live in a secular country and if there is a Hindu minister looking after Haj and Waqf affairs,we have no objection so long as he performs his duty with integrity and honesty.”

Thrice-MLA Swaroop is state minister for eight departments including,besides Haj and Waqf,minority welfare,urban integrated development,urban development,water supply,urban employment and poverty alleviation. The Haj and Waqf departments have always had a Muslim minister,including under the BJP. “It is a great responsibility that has been given to me by the chief minister. I will work hard to justify his selection,” Swaroop said.

Swaroop,who owns paper mills,steel furnaces and other businesses,speaks of the work he has done for the Muslim dominated Khalapar area in Muzaffarnagar. He is popularly known as Chacha Chitto among his voters.

“For me there is no discrimination on religious lines. I do not differentiate between people. If someone is needy,I am ready to help. Muslims in my area love me. They played a big role in my victory,” Swaroop said.

Supporters ‘shower’ currency notes

Lucknow: Barely a day after Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav warned the ministers to conduct themselves with dignity and discourage unruly behaviour by overzealous supporters,minister Chittranjan Swaroop flouted the norms when his supporters showered currency notes on him at Muzaffarnagar on Wednesday.

Swaroop is state minister for eight departments. The list includes minority welfare,Haj and Muslim waqf departments,urban integrated development,urban development,water supply,urban employment and poverty alleviation. He has been attached with cabinet minister Azam Khan,who heads all these eight departments. A three-time MLA,Swaroop reached Muzaffarnagar in the afternoon after becoming minister on Wednesday. He was greeted amid heavy sloganeering by his supporters. Some of them hurled currency notes in the air to welcome him.

Swaroop said,“They are not our party members. Some people may have done it but it was not ‘raining currency notes’. I condemn such an act by them to tarnish our image,” said Swaroop. State spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary said the matter had not been yet reported to the state office. “We will look into the matter after receiving full details of the incident,” he said.

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