Bidar: Karnataka State Waqf Board chairman Dr. Mohammed Yousuff has warned stringent action against the encroachers of Waqf properties said here on Tuesday.
According to Mr Yousuff, the board had been filing cases against encroachers in all districts. “In some districts, we have filed criminal cases against officials of some government agencies like city municipal councils”, he said.
He said that over 74,000 acres of Waqf land was lost to encroachers, across the State. “Only around 56,000 acres are left now. We will not only protect the existing properties, but also trying and get back all the encroached properties,” he said.
According to the chairman, a large number of Waqf properties were lost “due to wrong implementation of the Karnataka Land Reform Act, Inam Abolition Act, Rent Control Act and other laws.” Around 26,000 acres of Waqf properties are controlled by government departments like Revenue, Muzurai and Forest, he said.
He said that in some cases, private individuals or trusts had encroached Waqf lands in connivance with Imams and Mutawwalis of Islamic institutions. Such people should realize that the Imams and Mutawwalis are only trustees and protectors of the Waqf properties and not owners, he said. Such encroachments cannot be curbed easily as the level of awareness about Waqf laws among the Muslim community was very low.
Interestingly, the Waqf chairman’s accusations, resonates BJP leader and former Chairman of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission, Anwar Manippady’s 2012 report, where he has accused several state Muslim politicians and the board itself, of encroaching Waqf lands and embezzling hundreds of crores of rupees.