Muslim Cong leaders dispute Urdu Press' claim

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Hyderabd, Jan 28 (UNI) The Congress leaders of the Muslim community today disputed the claim of a section of the Urdu Press that 30 lakh acres of Wakf properties worth Rs two lakh crore have been encroached upon across the State.

At a joint press conference here, AICC member Mohd Sultan Ahmed, MLC, MLC Shaik Hussain and former PCC Secretary Abid Rasoo Khan said the number of Wakf properties in the State was 35,000 with land to an extent of 1.45 lakh acres. It was not known from where these newspapers got their data on the Wakf land, they said.

They said the Congress Government and the Congress party had neither been a party to the alienation of Wakf properties, nor had it protected the grabbers of the Wakf properties. The Congress party had, in its election manifesto, promised to safeguard and develop the Wakf properties and give executive powers to the Wakf Board on a par with the Hindu Endowments Act.

The issue of providing executive powers to the Wakf Board was referred to the Centre for its concurrence for amending the Andhra Pradesh Public Premises Act The Union Government, however, did not give concurrence on the ground that the Wakf properties were not state-owned properties and these were to be governed by the Wakf Act, 1995. The State gGovernment was taking action to appoint three sub-divisional magistrates exclusively to attend to eviction of encroachments of Wakf properties.

They said they had met Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and brought certain issues and suggestions to his notice. They urged the Government to expedite the second survey of the Wakf properties in the State and publish details of all the Wakfs, district-wise, and put the same on a website for the information to the general public.

The leaders had also requested the Government to strengthen the functioning of the Andhra Pradesh State Wakf Board. They urged the Government that the Wakf Board Secretary should be a senior IAS officer and he must be vested with powers similar to the Endowments Commissioner to ensure proper functioning of the Wakf Board.

They urged the Government to expedite the proposal to bring in comprehensive amendments to the Wakf Act to facilitate development of Wakf properties.

UNI BR VA GD ADB LS ND1806

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