Two days after BJP national president Rajnath Singh’s assured members of Anjuman-e-Haideri that the party would settle the issue of the karbala Shah-e-Mardan at Jor Bagh, the party still failed to win the Shia group’s open support.
While welcoming the commitment, members of Anjuman-e-Haideri — which is entrusted with the upkeep of the dargah — said they did not officially endorse the party.
On Tuesday, top Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, who has been at the forefront of the agitation demanding the settlement of the karbala land issue, had said while Muslims are “afraid” of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh had the acceptability of former prime minister A B Vajpayee.
However, on Wednesday, members of the Anjuman-e-Haideri said the statement should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the BJP.
“Maulana Jawwad has consistently maintained that Muslims shouldn’t vote for the Congress as they only appear to be ‘friends of the minority’, but are in fact involved in the encroachment of Waqf land across the country. But people are free to exercise their franchise,” Syed Bilal Hussain, member of Anjuman-e-Haideri, said.
The land issue is a result of a long-running dispute between members of Anjuman-e-Haideri and the owners of Rajdhani Nursery. The trust alleges that the nursery had encroached Waqf land near the Jor Bagh karbala, with the help of a prominent Congress leader.
Last week, in spite of the Delhi High Court’s decision to impose a ban on protests related to the karbala issue, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and his supporters were detained by the Delhi Police when they tried to enter Delhi. Later, they organised a peaceful Dandi March till Mother Teresa Crescent, but were once again stopped by police.