Madrasas on Government funds run on papers only
Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey from Lucknow
An investigation conducted by UP Minority Department on the instructions of senior officials finds 118 fake madrasas in 13 districts of the State, which are receiving grants from the State Government. It was revealed that these madrasas exist only in officials records. The matter needs a detailed investigation to find the amount being thus embezzled from the State exchequer.
Samajwadi Party Government is at a loss, because it considers the uplift of minorities as its priority. The senior officials at the Secretariat have directed the district magistrates of all districts to find if Government officials were also involved in the scam. DMs have also been asked to probe on three counts – 1. Since when fake madrasas were receiving State funds; 2. Amount of money transferred to them and 3. Who sanctioned the grants.
The minority welfare department has now sent a proposal to the Government seeking permission to verify the credentials of all functional madrasas in UP. The verification is needed since ‘madrasa modernisation’ is a heavily funded programme of the Central and State governments.
The fake madrasas were detected when the Minority Welfare Directorate verified the status of 500-odd madrasas which were picked up as beneficiaries under the Centrally funded Infrastructure Development in Minority Institutes (IDMI) scheme this year.
Under IDMI scheme, the Centre grants Rs 25 lakh to each selected madrasa for upgradation of infrastructure, setting up libraries, computer and science laboratories, hostel, classrooms, toilets and drinking water facility. A 25 per cent share to a madrasa under the scheme is given by the State Government. To avoid further scandals, the Minority Welfare Department has put up a proposal to the Government seeking permission to verify all the “existing” madrasas in UP.
The probe showed that 118 of the pack, in 13 districts, existed only in official records. To say if the institutes ceased to exist or never existed needed a thorough investigation.
It maybe noted that in yet another scandal only last year a trust for disabled people that Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife operate, received and misused Rs 1 crore and 39 lakh from the Government. There was a letter with the forged signature of a senior UP Government official that allowed the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to release Rs 68 lakh in March 2011 to the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust. This was in addition to Rs 71 lakh that the trust got from the Union Ministry also, allegedly, on the basis of forged letters in 2009-10.
Carrying the signature of a former special secretary of the Department of Disabled Welfare, Government of UP, the letter, dated March 24, 2011, said the State Government had assessed, to its satisfaction, the work being done by the trust to help disabled people. Adding that the trust had, in 2009-10, distributed appliances to the disabled in the presence of “competent technical specialists” at specially organised camps in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh, the letter also recommended the trust’s name for further releases from the ministry.
The bureaucrat had confirmed that his signatures were forged, and said that he retired from UP Government services in January 2011, nearly three months before the letter was sent out in his name. Sources in the State Government confirmed that a signed copy from the officer, saying his signature was forged, has been received. The same had also been forwarded to the office of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as part of a probe into the operations of the trust, but nothing happened.
Though the mandatory assessment of an NGO’s work by the State Government was still under investigation, the ministry, on the basis of this forged letter, proceeded to release funds to the Trust for 20101-2011, Rs 68 lakh in March 2011.
After an inquiry, nearly 34 UP Government officials from 13 districts, out of the 17, where the trust, is functional said their signatures had been forged. They also said no disabled welfare camps were held nor distribution of appliances done in any of these districts.
Taking cognisance of the mass anomalies, Akhilesh Yadav ordered an Economic Offences Wing (EOW) investigation into the matter. So far, no case of forgery have been lodged by the EOW, nor any FIR filed.
The Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) and United Christian Democratic Forum (UCDF) have named Church Authorities of conspiring to include them in the Scheduled Caste list, which they said is not acceptable to Dalit Christians.
In an open letter to the Pope Francis and Church Authorities, the PCLM president RL Francis, Advocate George Tomas, Rev. Ashwini Kumar and PB Lomeo said Dalits converted to Christianity prefer to preserve their dignity, and are willing to forgo Scheduled Caste tag.
Demanding compensation for the 30 million Dalit Christians, Francis said Dalits have suffered heavy economic losses by foregoing reservation and converting to Christianity to get respect and dignity in the Christian society.
At all India level, the Church flaunts that it has 22 per cent educational institution. Thus, it has resources almost at par with the Government of India. If the Church has such an enormous power why are the Dalit Christian not even getting the crumbs? They expressed concern over the poor representation of Dalit Christians in church administrative set up.
Relief camps turning into dens of narrow politics in Muzaffarnagar
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s sudden visit to relief camps of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli resulted in rise of political activity in Western UP. The statement of SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav that relief camps are now occupied by workers of political parties instead of riot-affected people, exposed the real game going on behind the scene.
While this statement gave rise to a new political controversy, impartial attempts are being made to ascertain the truth behind this statement of SP Supremo. The irony is that these camps are being looked as a medium to woo Muslim voters in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The SP is facing a stiff challenge in this respect from the Congress party in luring Muslim votes.
When Organiser contacted Saharanpur Commissioner Bhuvanesh Kumar to know the reality, he told that those 3900 riot-hit people living in the five relief camps were told that they would be given permanent land allotment on the site of camps. But the truth is exactly opposite. One of the relief camps of Loi in Muzaffarnagar is situated on the land of Horticulture Department, where 1027 people are living at present. This is a government land and cannot be allotted to private parties.
Similarly, the Malakpura camp in Shamli, where 1900 people have taken refuge, is located on the land owned by Forest Department, which is directly under the authority of the Centre. Maybe, for this reason the people of Malakpura demanded from Rahul Gandhi that this land be allotted to them.
Commissioner Bhuvanesh Kumar informed that the administration so far succeeded in sending 47000 people to their respective homes with the help and cooperation of the village chiefs, voluntary organisations and social and political activists. All these people are feeling secure and safe in the peaceful atmosphere now.
The Commissioner said that people of nine villages—six in Muzaffarnagar and 3 in Shamli—were the worst affected in the riots. The administration has distributed Rs five lakh per family ex-gratia to 1400 such families. Following the violence of September 7, 2013, a total of 50,955 people have taken shelter in 58 relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Saharanpur division. Out of them, 47000 went to their homes without much difficulty.
The Commissioner flatly refused that the government land be allotted to refugees living in the relief camps. It would be in their own interests that they should return to their homes at the earliest, he said. He hoped that the efforts to convince the remaining refugees would bear fruits soon and they would return to their homes in the near future.
The Commissioner gave credit to IG Zone Ashutosh Pandey for instilling a feeling of mutual trust and social harmony and fraternity among the riot victims. He said with the remaining people going home, the situation would soon be normalised. He further said that Meerut Commissioner Sardar Manjit Singh is conducting probe into the conditions of relief camps. His report would tell the exact position and what more could be done for the inmates of these camps.