The Uttar Pradesh government has revoked an order passed by the Revenue Department in 1989 under which uncultivable land in several places was “irregularly registered” as Waqf properties, PTI reported on Wednesday.
Under Islamic law and customs, properties that are donated for religious and welfare work come under the category of Waqf, which means a charitable, religious endowment. Once donated, it is treated as “God’s property”.
On September 7, the government directed all divisional commissioners and district magistrates in the state to examine the proceedings carried out under the 1989 order and correct the revenue records, according to PTI. It has asked them to submit a report within a month.
Minority Welfare and Waqf Department Deputy Secretary Shakeel Ahmed Siddiqui said that barren land at several places was registered as Waqf property by “manipulating provisions” of the Uttar Pradesh Muslim Waqf Act, 1960.
According to the state government, the land of gram sabha and municipal councils was also occupied by Waqf boards, The New Indian Express reported. However, change in management and nature of these areas is prohibited under the 1989 order, it added.
Siddiqui said that only properties which are donated for religious and welfare work according to Muslim law and customs can be categorised as Waqf.
The scrutiny of Waqf board lands by the Adityanath-led government comes a week after it had started a survey of unrecognised madrassas in the state.
However, Minister of State for Minority Welfare and Waqf Danish Azad Ansari said that the latest order was a departmental process and has nothing to do with other Waqf properties.
“In some media reports it is being told that the exercise is like the ongoing survey of private madrassas, which is incorrect,” he told PTI.