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Islamic Voice Logo

JUNE 1999

MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-06 No:150    *   JUNE 1999/ RABI-AL-AWWAL 1419H
email: editor@islamicvoice.com

COMMUNITY ROUNDUP


Waqf Seminar : "Illegal Occupation is the Bane"
Bengal Muslim Students Hold Convention on Reservation
Jamaat back Islamic Banks
VC's Arrest in Bihar Teachers Allege Conspiracy
GD Charitable Society, West Bengal Helping the Beedi Workers
"Amanath House" Opened
Seminar on Indo-Arab Relations
Maliana Killers Minority Council Urges Punishment
Hospital Near Slums Opened


Waqf Seminar : "Illegal Occupation is the Bane"

Seminar on Waqf Experience in South India

Left to right: M.A. Quddus, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, Former Chief Justice A.M.Ahmadi,
Prof. Tahir Mahmood, Mahmood Ahmed Medhi, Syed Nizamuddin.

By A. B. Masoud

New Delhi: India has around 250 thousand Waqf properties, the largest in the world, but most of them are under illegal occupation of none other than the central and state governments. The main usurper of the waqf properties is the Central Government that has built several key department buildings by “illegally occupying” the Waqf land. Others include Delhi’s high-profile Golf Club, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, Central Government Offices (CGO) Complex around Lodhi Road area that also houses the headquarters of the CBI, the Oberoi Inter-continental and several important institutions. The situation in many other states is similar.

These startling facts came under discussion here at a 3-day international seminar on ‘Awqaf experiences in South Asia’ jointly organised by the Institute of Objective Studies, Islamic Research and Training Institute of IDB, Jeddah, Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation, Kuwait here on May 8-10.


The waqf properties can generate Rs. 16,000 crore of income for the socio-economic upliftement of the community. Former Delhi Waqf Board offered to finance the entire Delhi's budget, if only the waqf properties locked under encroachment were released.

The seminar pointed out that while the Muslim community was reeling under extreme social and economic backwardness, the waqf properties spread all over the country exceeded an estimated value of Rs. 375,000 crores, but adequate attention was not paid to utilise the same in the interest of community. The researchers estimated that the registered properties, if managed properly and skilfully, have the potential in generating about Rs. 16,000 crores of income every year. The participants felt that the proper utilisation of Muslim endowments could not only reverse the lot of Muslim community but could provide soft income to cash strapped governments also. Former chairman of Delhi Waqf Board, Mr. Siraj Piracha, revealed that he had offered to finance Delhi government budget, provided the authorities help the Board to evict encroachers and help in their development.

According to a note circulated at the conference, the waqf in India is facing the greatest onslaught from illegal encroachments from unscrupulous elements, besides lacking proper administration, legislations and developments. Particularly, in the areas where the people migrated to Pakistan after the partition, the waqf properties are being illegally occupied. Quoting instances, the paper revealed that of the nearly 34,000 waqf properties under Punjab Waqf Board, only 20 per cent were under the possession of the Board, while about 30 per cent were under illegal occupation of various government and private institutions. Besides, more than 200 properties have been sold by the rehabilitation departments.

Former Chief Justice of India A.M.Ahamdi, who inaugurated the seminar, urged that the income from the innumerable waqf properties should be channelised in the work of eradication of illiteracy and promotion of education of the community, besides helping the Islamic seminaries and institutions. He said waqf properties dotted across the country were gold mines for Muslim ‘Ummah’ awaiting immediate attention, proper legislation and good administration.

Mr. .K. Rehman Khan, MP, who leads the joint parliamentary committee on waqf also stressed the need to develop Muslim endowments in order to uplift the economic profile of the community. He said that around 70 per cent Muslim populations’ per capita income was less than 150 dollars a year, 90 per cent of them drop out from education at the primary level. Drawing the dismal picture of the community, he said that about 25 per cent of them lived in slums and another 40 per cent of them have no shelter at all.

Prof. Tahir Mahmood, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, assessment of waqf properties in the SAARC countries at a joint platform. According to Prof. Mahmood, under the constitution of India, the Muslim community has a fundamental right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes and the central and state governments have concurrent jurisdiction to legislate on awqaf. Waqf management laws were inadequate and Central Waqf Council was a toothless body.

Qazi Mujahidul Islam, secretary general, Islamic Fiqh Academy suggested that an international foundation for waqf development should be established which could work for the development of the waqf assets in different countries to make them more profitable.

Dr. Mohammed Rizwanul Haque Secretary, Central Waqf Council opined that inspite of the fact that the Waqf Act 1995 was comparatively a better piece of legislation, the actual working suggested that it still needed certain improvements. Echoing the same view Prof. Atique A Khan, MD University, Rohtak asserted that the Waqf Act 1995 was not being implemented properly and the corrupt employees encouraged encroachment of property. Prof. Mahmood hailed Pakistan’s waqf laws and said that it was the most comprehensive law in South Asia which is fully aimed to stop encroachments while Indian Waqf Act (1995) had no such provisions to stop or evict unlawful occupation.

The Waqf experts and other foreign scholars concluded that the awqaf in South Asia were in pathetic condition. So far as India is concerned, it deserved special attention. Because a hundred thousand Awqaf exist here. There are 24 Waqf Boards (22 Sunni Boards and two Shia Boards) to look after them. Only Bihar and UP have separate Shia Boards.

The concept of waqf was introduced in India with the advent of Muslim rule. However, since 1913 a number of Acts were passed by the central and state legislatures. According to Mr. H. Abdul Wahab, former, Chairman, Karnataka State Board of Waqfs, the Waqf Act 1954 was a major development in the history of awqaf in the country.

The participants deliberated upon the socio-economic role and experiences of awqaf in South Asia as well as some useful models of other countries. Mr. Mahmood Ahmad Medhi, Saudi Arabia, threw light on the IDB efforts on the promotion of waqf, while Dr. Dahi Al -Fdhili, deputy secretary general, KAPF, narrated the experiences in the management of waqf properties.

The seminar adopted eight resolutions on Awaqf in South Asia. It also resolved to strive for establishing an International Awqaf Development Fund.

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Bengal Muslim Students Hold Convention on Reservation

By A Staff Writer

CALCUTTA: Demands were made here for according reservation for Muslims in jobs and educational places at the Muslim Student Convention held on May 1 here. Intellectuals and leaders of several political parties participated. It was organised by West Bengal Madrasah Students Union. Mr. Manipal, President of Samajbadi Party of the West Bengal unit, said the uppercastes who make up 15per cent of the total total population are ruling over 85per cent people. He said his party president Mulayam Sings Yadav had already demanded for quota in government services for Muslims in the Parliament and legislative bodies. He urged that the Muslim be declared as ‘backward’ as 95 per cent of them were a neglected lot. Abdur Rab-Bin Ismail, state President of Indian National League, opined that Muslim candidates were victims of discrimination by govt. run employment exchanges who did not call them. He said in the Bashirhat subdivision where Muslims were 67 per cent only one muslim was recruited among 32 primary school teachers. Similar was the case in Murshidabad district, he informed. Sultan Ahmed MLA urged that the government should undertake a socio-economic survey of Muslims by a competent authority and declare them as educationally and economically backward community and grant the reservation in government services and educational institutions according to their population (25 per cent now). Quoting data he pointed out that Muslims’ representation in government services is much lower than even scheduled tribes. He asked the students to take the movement to the people to seek their support. Idris Ali advocate and Chairman of Congress Minority Cell, said reservation was a mechanism to start the sharing of powers and influence as ensured in the Constitution. All Muslims should join the movement in their own interest. Moulana Siddquallh, general secretary of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind (WB), Sukriti Biswas, State Unit President of Republican Party, Meher Singh Garib, State President of Akali Dal, Chandi Bhattachauya, and Md. Quammruzzaman general secretary of the Students Union also spoke on deprivation of Muslims in various fields. Dr. Mozaffar Islam, who presided over the conference, referred to government statistics to show that percentage of Muslims in government departments in West Bengal was around 2 per cent whereas for SCs and STs it was 15 per cent and and 7. 5 per cent respectively; though Muslims constitute 25per cent. In central services this percentage is around 3 per cent. He further said that only 192 Muslim candidates out of 8251 during 1998 were given jobs through government run employment exchanges. As such reservation is a must for socio-economic progress of the Muslim community.

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Jamaat back Islamic Banks

TRIVANDRUM : The Jamaat-e-Islami, which started a one month campaign against interest in banking from April 17 has extended it upto May 31 in view of the support evoked among the people, according to campaign general convenor Sheikh Muhammad Karakkunnu. In a statement here, Sheikh Muhammad said the organisation, which has set up 200 interest-free funds, wil be adding another 150 such funds shortly. The organisation will launch a signature campaign and submitted a memorandum to the governor and chief minister in support of their demand to ban 'blade' companies, establish interest free banks, exempt interest from government aids, etc., signature from the public will be collected during a vehicle procession from Kasaragod to Trivandrum was organised from May 27 to May 30.

The Jamaat has already set up an experts committee to prepare an action plan for interest free banking and sought permission from the Reserve Bank of India to set up a non-banking finance company based on Islamic principles, with no interest on loans and advances.

At present there is no provision in the RBI rules for registering a no-interest Islamic bank, although over 200 such banks are in operation around the world.

Mr. Sheikh said the NBFC would work as an apex body for the existing and proposed no-interest funds in the state.

The organisation has been providing loans to needy people with out caste and communal considerations.

Mr. sheikh said these funds were divided in two simple loans without any strings attached and advances for commercial purposes which offer a decent return on the capital investment.

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VC's Arrest in Bihar Teachers Allege Conspiracy

By A.B.Masoud in Delhi

New Delhi : Academic circles and Muslim organisations have deep anguish over the arrest of Prof. (Dr.) Abdul Mohni, vice-chancellor of Lalit Narain Mithila University, (LNMU) in Darbhanga (Bihar) and a well-known Urdu critic. They charged the communal forces of hatching a conspiracy against Prof. Mohni to dislodge him from the post.

Prof Moghni was arrested at Patna on May 13 and is now in Beur Jail. The vigilance department FIR, filed on May 11, accused him of irregularities in granting affiliation and conduct of examinations of minority-run B.Ed. Colleges. Altogether 28 persons were accused in the case but only Prof. Moghni was singled out and arrested.

Before his arrest, Prof. Moghni charged that the vigilance department lodged the FIR without questioning him. The vigilance, he said, took this action in haste and expressed surprised as to how in such a short-time (since the confiscation of all the related records from his residence) it could have gone through all the papers. The Bhubaneshwar-based National Council of Teachers Education, entrusted by the government of India to provide recognition to B.Ed. colleges, had not found any irregularities in these teachers training colleges, Prof. Moghni asserted. Though the V.C was fully empowered to grant affiliation to such colleges, Prof. Moghni explained, he granted the affiliation on the recommendation of the statutory committee and later the university syndicate also approved it.

The arrest of Prof. Moghni has shocked everybody. There is a strong feeling that BJP was behind this conspiracy. Because BJP was not happy with Prof. Moghni who played a key role in making Urdu as second official language in Bihar during the late 70’s and granting affiliation to a number of minority-run-colleges. It is reported that Mr. Sushil Modi, BJP leader in the state Assembly, himself took up the case against Prof. Moghni with the then the governor Sunder Singh Bhandari in August last and asked the state vigilance department to go into the case.

The LNMU Principals Association condemned the arrest. Association’s secretary Dr. Kameshwar Jha said, a conspiracy was hatched by the powers that be to demoralise a forceful personality who had been running university in the most efficient way. While Dr. Dilip Chaudary, general secretary, LNMU Service Teacher Association, charged the vigilance department with conducting the probe beyond the terms of reference with an aim to humiliate and demoralise the efficient and honest VC from the minority community. They charged the communal forces of masterminding the conspiracy. Dr. Khaleeq Anjum, secretary, Anjum Taraqqui Urdu Hind termed it a conspiracy and said what was happening now had already been apprehended by Prof. Moghni. Dr. Anjum told the Islami Voice that Prof. Moghni confided in him, during a meeting at a seminar in Nagpur about two month back, that he was sensing some conspiracy being hatched against him. He wondered how a person of high integrity and probity had been charged of irregularities.

Prof. Abdul Haq, President, All India University Urdu Teachers Association said it was a clear case of conspiracy against an erudite scholar and known academician. He said a couple of Muslim vice chancellors were ousted after the RSS ideologue Bhandari took over as the governor of Bihar. He said the entire Urdu community had been hurt by the nefarious game against the most popular leader of the Urdu movement and a reputed scholar.

Meanwhile a delegation of academics, and professors met the working president of Rashthiya Janata Dal Dr. Ranajan Prasad Yadav. They demanded the immediate release of Prof. Mohgni and a fresh inquiry into the case. Mr. Yadav assured that RJD government would look into the matter. He said that the governor had granted permission to arrest Prof. Moghni the delegation consists of Dr. Khalique Anjum, Mr. Shariful Hassan Naqvi, Prof. Amir Arifi, Prof. Ali Javed and Dr. Aslam Parvez. n

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GD Charitable Society, West Bengal Helping the Beedi Workers

By Mozafar Islam

MURSHIDABAD: The G.D Charitable Society (GDCS) of Aurangabad in Murshidabad district (West Bengal) is a popular name not only in the area but also in the whole state. It is managed by Alhaj Giasuddin Biswas and his two sons, Mustaque Hussain and Abul Kalam. The Pataka Beedi Manufacturing Company (Aurangabad) who floated GDCS just a few years go is known for its benevolent and welfare activities for the cause of beedi workers and poor people at large. GD Charitable Society has done commendable work in the field of social welfare during last few years, recently on April 23 Mr. A. R. Kidwai, Governor of West Bengal, laid the foundation stone of GDC’S Bhawan in this town and also inaugurated its four ambulances which will benefit lakhs of beedi workers, their families and other weaker sections of people in Gengipur sub-division. In his speech Dr. Kidwai lauded the efforts of this beedi industrial house in the service of beedi workers and other poor people. He also asked the district magistrate of Murshidabad to see that one polytechnic is opened in the town by the government. Mr. Mustaque Hussain, secretary of the society and director of Patka Beedi Company said that the Bhawan is being constructed for educational development of local boys and girls, preferably sons and daughters of beedi workers. It is necessary to add, Gengipur subdivision including Aurangabad area is a Muslim majority belt with three lakhs beedi workers living below the poverty line. The Pataka Beedi Company and GDCS rendered unprecedented social service during the August-September 1998 devastating floods in Malda and Murshidabad districts when several hundred villages were cut off from the rest of the state for one month. Malda people took shelter on roof-tops, death toll exceeded 150 and more than 40 lakhs people were severely affected. When the local administration was helpless, GD Charitable Society launched the rescue opoeration for the marooned and starving villagers. Around 250 staff of the Pataka Beedi Company and GDCS reached out to nearly 5 lakh people by boat and vehicles and distributed 1.65 lakh kilograms of chira (beaten rice), 25 thousand kg gur, 53,000 tarpaulines, 31,000 kg of bleaching powder etc. They also organised medical camps and treated 14, 623 patients. In October during Durga Puja, GDCS donated 3,000 saris, 1,000 dhotis, 1,500 lungis, 2,650 pant-shirts, 1,750 frocks for Hindu brothers and sisters. The company also helped in resettling 1,000 poor and homeless people and distributed winter-clothings in November -December 98 to 10,000 helpless men and women.

Total relief material in cash and kind amounted to Rs. 2 crores. Relief was provided to all people irrespective of caste and creed. People of the area consider Haji G. Biswas and Mustaque Hussain as living angels for their benevolent service towards the needy and paupers. Though the head of the GD Charitable Society, Haji Giasuddin Biswas is the richest beedi merchant in West Bengal, he leads a simple and pious life. Every year few lakhs are spent for welfare of workers from Zakat. Thousands of poor and needy men and women are benefitted. He has built a big Mosque in the town, made of marble, at a cost of Rs. one crore and helped many educational and religious institutions.

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"Amanath House" Opened

BANGALORE: The 22-year old Amanath Cooperative Bank opened its new headquarters in the Shivajinagar locality here on May 19. The white impressive building is behind the Shivajinagar bus stand in the hub of the Bangalore Cantonment area.

According to chairman, Rahman Khan, MP, the Bank is poised to become a scheduled bank with facility to start branches anywhere in the country. He said the bank's deposits now stand at Rs. 200 crore and it has 1.58 lakh depositors. It has 20 branches in Bangalore and one in Belgaum. Its own assets are worth Rs. 22 crores while it intends to open five more branches in the city. The new white, glass dressed building has ATM (automated teller machine) or more popularly known, "Any Time Money Facility."

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Seminar on Indo-Arab Relations

SILCHAR (Assam): The Assam University here held a seminar on the Indo-Arab Relations on April 19. Papers were presented on Arabs in Hyderabad by Prof Sudhakar Rao of department of sociology, on Indo-Arab trade relations in post liberalisation period by Dr. Ms. Keya Sengupta of department of economics, Arab nationalism and oil politics by Prof. Sidarth of department of economics and Dr. Tanmoy Bhattarcharjee of department of political science. Prof. K M Mohamad head of the depatrtment of Arabic presented a paper on the Arab trade relations with Malabar coast. Dr. A. M. Bhuiya of the Department of Arabic proposed a vote of thanks.

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Maliana Killers Minority Council Urges Punishment

NEW DELHI: The Minorities Council of India has demanded speedy prosecution of 61 PAC and police personnel who were indicted by the CID for the cold blooded killing of Muslim youth of Hashimpura and Maliana near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh in horrendous anti-Muslim riots in 1987. In May 1995, the then UP government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav granted permission to prosecute against 19 PAC personnel but no progress has been reported so far in the case. The crime had evoked parallels with crimes by Nazis against Jews and eminent journalist Nikhil Chakravarty had termed it as “on the line of Nazi pogrom against the Jews to strike nothing but terror in the minority community.”

Despite all this rhetoric no justice had been done to the victims, said Council secretary Prof. Iqbal A. Ansari. He told Islamic Voice that keeping in view the uniqueness of the case where the guardians of law went on a killing spree in an area where there was no rioting, demand must be made for trial by a special court under special procedure.

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Hospital Near Slums Opened

BANGALORE: The Al-Aman Education and Welfare Trust has set up the Al-Aman Charitable Hospital near the Hameed Khan Garden slums in the heart of Bangalore by the Al Aman Educational and Welfare Trust. According to Trust secretary Mohammad Farooq, the hospital will be upgraded into a 30-bed hospital in future. It has currently six beds, out-patients department and laboratory for tests. Consultation and medicine are dispensed free of cost. Three doctors have been appointed. Farooq said the hospital was meant to serve the poorest of the poor of the society and was set up near a slum with a population of over 50,000. Journalists Kuldip Nayar, M. A. Siraj, Minority Commission member Basheer Ahmed and several other social workers visited the hospital and the slums. (Address: Al Aman Charitable Hospital, 4/1-D Tank Bund Road, Journalists Colony, Kalasipalayam, Bangalore-2, Ph: 080-2991263)

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