GUWAHATI: Noted social activist and lawyer Nekibur Zaman has demanded that the new regime in Dispur must immediately carry out an eviction drive to clear wakf land and property from encroachment in the State.
"The new government under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has started massive eviction drives to clear land belonging to xatras and temples from the clutches of encroachers. We demand a similar drive to clear wakf land and property from encroachers. The BJP had committed to clear wakf property from encroachers when it came to power in the State for the first time in 2016," Zaman, former chairman of Assam Board of Wakf, told The Sentinel.
Eviction drive in Fancy Bazar Wakf Land
As per the census conducted in 1957, Assam has registered wakf land measuring 15,900 bighas and 1000 property. Zaman said the Assam Legislative Assembly constituted a House Committee on Wakf Estates and Properties in 2015. He said the House Committee had submitted its report in the same year with several recommendations to clear wakf land and property from encroachers and develop the same for the welfare of the Muslim community in the State.
"It is unfortunate that not a single recommendation of the House Committee has so far been implemented. The then Speaker of Assam Assembly late Pranab Gogoi also shown keen interest to implement the recommendations," Zaman said.
The House Committee had visited a few states in the country including neighbouring West Bengal to see how wakf property was being maintained and developed in those States.
As per recommendations of the House Committee, the State Government will immediately evict all encroachers of wakf land and property, set up separate wakf tribunals in different districts to dispose of wakf related litigations, registration of all wakf estates and properties, the appointment of ADC (Revenue) as nodal officer to look after wakf property in every district, strengthening of the Assam Board of Wakf by filling up of vacant posts and setting up separate cell under the Revenue department to collect revenue from wakf property.
"When I was the chairman of the Assam Board of Wakf resolution was taken to strictly enforce the amended Wakf Act 2013. We met the then Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and apprised him about the resolution. But the Act is yet to be implemented in the State. Barring Assam all other States have implemented the amended Wakf Act 2013," Zaman said.
Sitting Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed who was also a member of the House Committee set up by the Assembly, said if 100 wakf estates currently being used for commercial purpose are cleared from encroachment, revenue to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore will be generated. He said the said amount will be enough for taking various welfare activities for the Muslim community in the State.
"The State Government must immediately start the eviction drive to clear wakf land and property. The drive must be started from Guwahati's prime locality such as Fancy Bazar," Ali said.
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