How do you know 1,100 bighas of Waqf land have been acquired illegally?
It has been five months since I was appointed chairman of the Waqf Board. We conducted an inquiry to examine the status of Waqf properties and learnt that 1,100 bighas of Waqf land was illegally acquired by the DDA. This land consists of 382 properties including 287 burial grounds and 59 mosques. In the 1970 government gazette, these properties were shown as Waqf properties and they were acquired by the DDA subsequently. But properties like mosques and burial grounds cannot be acquired in this manner.
In which part of Delhi are these properties located?
The properties are scattered all over Delhi but a major chunk — 602 bighas of 1,100 bighas — is in south Delhi… the acquisition of the land, on which big malls have been constructed in Saket, is also under the scanner. These properties also have sentimental value in the Muslim community. Our ancestors were buried on this land that they donated to the community. We don’t build anything on burial grounds.
How do you propose to go ahead with your findings?
I am asking these properties to be de-notified. The Waqf Board Act of 2013 states that once a property belongs to Waqf, it always remains a Waqf property. Even if somebody else has constructed on Waqf land, the Waqf Board can still take over the land…
What action do you want the government to take?
On August 17, I wrote a letter to the Lieutenant Governor, seeking his intervention in the de-notification of these properties… The Waqf Board vigilance is examining all these properties and others as well. Earlier, Congress leaders Haroun Yusuf and Mateen Ahmed had served as Waqf Board chairmen. Why didn’t they examine the acquisitions and how did they allow them? Were they in connivance with the DDA that was under the Congress government at the Centre at the time? Could this have been done without the knowledge of the revenue department… an inquiry needs to be conducted to examine all these aspects.