By Faisal Fareed
Fight to control Shia Central Board of Waqfs (SCBW) in Lucknow has divided the community into two groups, with one group indulging in violent protests leading to the death of a 60-year-old Friday.
SCBW controls nearly 4,500 properties registered as waqf, most of them situated in prime locations in Lucknow. The two groups led by Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and former chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi target each other for misappropriation of waqf properties.
Waqf properties, though meant for the welfare of the community, are now prized possessions. With land prices skyrocketing, sale of waqf properties, too, has been reported at several places. The state government had also constituted a CB-CID probe into the alleged irregularities and FIRs were registered.
Both Rizvi and Jawwad blame each other for land deals in waqf properties. With elections for chairmanship of SCBW on the anvil, both groups want to control the board. The chairman of SCBW is elected from an electorate of 11 persons which include two sitting or former
Shia MPs, two sitting or former MLAs, two Shia advocates and three government nominees including a government officer, one cleric and a prominent person from the community.
The bone of contention is now the two members from Mutawalli (caretaker) quota. These two Mutawalli members are elected by an electorate of Mutawallis of waqfs which have an annual income of over Rs one lakh.
At present, both Rizvi and Jawwad are members of Mutawalli electorate. Jawwad’s contention is that the mutawalli list has been fudged so as to get Rizvi elected from their quota. At Jawwad’s demand, the elections for SCBW were reportedly postponed by the government.
The acrimony between the two groups was out in the open after Kamaluddin Akbar resigned from the chairmanship of SCBW in 2010. Akbar is a close relative of Jawwad and Rizvi took over from him as chairman.
It is alleged that sale of 45 bighas of waqf to Waves Group which was part of sugar mill was raised during Akbar’s tenure. “It is true and the complaint was kept pending till I became chairman and started an inquiry,” Rizvi claimed.
Rizvi, who had been a corporator in Lucknow Municipal Corporation, was once a trusted aide of Jawwad. In 2008-09, he became chairman of SCBW with Jawwad’s support but slowly grew on his own. During BSP regime, he became SCBW chairman again in 2011 after Akbar’s resignation.
Differences grew and Rizvi took a tough stand and even served a notice on Jawwad for misappropriation of funds in waqf Imambara Ghuframaab. It was alleged land for graves were sold for lakhs of rupees with Jawwad as its caretaker.
With change in regime in 2012, Rizvi switched loyal ties and became close to the Samajwadi Party. In this period, he stationed himself at Rampur, taking action against waqf properties of Congress MLA Nawab Kazim Ali Khan.
Jawwad says cabinet minister Azam Khan backs Rizvi for further bungling in waqf properties. “He had told me waqf properties will be finished so that there will be no dispute,” said Jawwad who had also opposed Azam’s move to merge Shia and Sunni waqf boards.