Awaiting LG's nod, reconstituted Waqf Board yet to see light of day

NEW DELHI: As the reconstitution of the Delhi Waqf Board, which had been dissolved in 2016 over allegations of corruption, awaits approval from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan alleged that Baijal is not willing to reconstitute the body.

Imams of several mosques affiliated with the Board and thousands of Muslim widows reportedly have not got their salaries and widow pension, respectively, for last three months because the Board is completely defunct since former LG Najeeb Jung dissolved the Board and set up a CBI inquiry on October 7, 2016.

According to the Board sources, almost 350 mosques are registered with it and more than 300 imams and ,oazines get a monthly salary from the Board.

"With the election of Himal Akhtar to the board from the Bar Council quota last month, the last hurdle in the reconstitution of the body was cleared. Now, the LG's approval and notification to the elected and nominated members is awaited. A file of members nominated by Delhi government on the board is lying pending with the LG," a government source said.

Meanwhile, Khan, Chairman of the Delhi Assembly's Minority Welfare Committee, claimed that the issue was raised by AAP, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in the Assembly's Budget session, but nothing happened. "It seems the LG does not want to reconstitute the board," he claimed.

In January, AAP had alleged that Baijal does not want to appoint the chairperson of the Board, which is leading to "corruption and misuse" of waqf property. Even Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot sought to know why Baijal was not appointing the chairperson, despite the fact that all laid-down procedures have been followed. The LG' office is yet to responded to the allegations.

The elected members of the board include Amantullah Khan, former parliamentarian Parvez Hashmi, Chaudhary Sharif Ahmad and Himal Akhtar. Three other members are nominated, including one scholar each from Shia and Sunni sects, a government official said.

In December last year, Baijal had directed the Revenue Department to probe allegations by BJP's Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta that the government was trying to reconstitute the Board in "utter violation" of the Waqf Act.

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