In September last, Organiser carried a detailed report on how a temple was usurped by the Waqf board and subsequent developments. The Tamil Nadu Waqf Board has claimed ownership of the 1500-year-old Manendiyavalli Chandrashekhara Swami temple land. The temple has 369 acres of property in and around Tiruchenthurai village in the Tiruchi District of Tamil Nadu. When a local farmer Rajagopal tried to sell his agricultural land, the Waqf board’s claim came to the fore. Mind you, this is not an isolated one; there are more such instances.
Now lands held by Hindus in Muslim predominant Ranipet and Vellore area are being claimed as Waqf board properties. According to TV Rajesh, the president of Hindu Munnani, Ranipet District, DMK MLA and Minister Gandhi, along with the district collector, without any prior notice to the Hindu farmers, took away their agricultural lands amid protests by the affected families.
Tracing the background, he said, “This has happened recently in Veppur village near Arcot Union in Ranipet District near Vellore. Arcot, Melvisharam, Vellore, and Ranipet are Muslim majority regions. In the 1900s, a land parcel of nearly 57 acres, held by one Wahab settled among his four wives, who after his demise mortgaged to Hindus and did not pay the amount they took from them and failed to redeem it. A case related to this in Chengalpet court was decided in the Hindus’ favour and pattas were issued to them. They were raising crops for the last forty or fifty years. Nearly 30 families now own this land parcel of 57 acres. All of a sudden, without following due process of law and issuing notices, Ranipet MLA and TN Minister Gandhi, a District collector armed with police and revenue officials, descended on the village only to tell them that the lands are waqf properties. They have no rights over them. The villagers in a video could be seen wailing, thumping their chests on losing the land which they owned, arguing with the authorities and ministers to reconsider their decision. Some even begged the authorities as it is their only source of livelihood. Some even questioned the action which is against law, and are ready to submit documents if they are allowed and called for a meeting with authorities. The hapless Hindu words and wailing fall on the deaf ears. This is another minority appeasement measures”.
He said in Arcot town, nearly 75 flats/plots in Saibaba colony have pending registration at the Sub Registrar office following claims by Muslims and Waqf claiming its ownership, and this is widely prevalent in Vellore, Ranipet, Arcot, Vaniyambadi and other Muslim areas.
BJP national secretary H Raja and Hindu activists condemned it on social media. Raja tweeted that the TN Government took over 56 acres of property belonging to Hindus in Veppur village and handed it over to Waqf. He visited the village and talked to the victims. He said that Hindus got their properties through court from the four wives of one Wahab as they failed to pay back their debts. H Raja said, “Wahab has been edited as Waqf, and the Waqf Board has staked claim to the properties, which is a scam”. He said the DMK rule is “Malik Kafur rule”. Waqf has claimed ownership of properties worth seven times the money lost through the 2G scam”.
He claimed to have received nearly 1 lakh complaints through his Twitter account alleging the loss of Hindu property. He assured that BJP will stand with such victims and fight it in court if necessary.
According to Islam, “the concept of Islamic land ownership says, ‘Once a Waqf, always a Waqf’. When land owned by Muslims becomes ‘Waqf’, then it can never revert back to non-Muslims. This absurd claim has been strengthened by the Waqf Act of 1995. Waqf properties which were around 4 lakh acres in 2009 have doubled up and become 8,54,509 properties spread over 8 lakh acres now,” says Kadeswara Subramaniam.
He told the Organiser correspondent that “in Tamil Nadu, there are nearly 53,834 properties owned by 7,452 waqf boards. Most of them are either under encroachment or illegally acquired by using fraudulent means with government patronage. Interestingly, the pattas for most of the waqf properties are on third-party names. Waqf board properties can’t be sold, alienated, leased, mortgaged, name transfer, name changed. The final decision of the property in question or in dispute can be taken only by the Waqf board, which is irrevocable. No court can interfere in its properties-related issues. As per 1975 waqf properties are proclaimed as public properties and it can’t be registered as per the 1908 registration act”.
Subramaniam said those administering the waqf properties sold such properties violating rules and laws and without valid documents. “Without knowing these facts, for the Muslims’ votes, DMK government is engaged in the process of surveying and reclassification of government and private owned lands. They are now being transferred to Waqf Board. This unwarranted wrong policy and decision of the DMK Government has led to Hindus losing their lands which they have been owning generation together. They are pushed to lose their hands in the state where Muslims are more in numbers. Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Trichy, Vellore and other districts, thousands of Hindu Families have become a victim of this issue.”
People have been agitating and raising their voices on being robbed of their lands, claiming waqf properties which the Hindus have been enjoying their continued possession legally. The Hindu has condemned this type of highhandedness of the Stalin-led Government and urged the government to publicise the Registration department’s details and data and put an end to the issue.
Rajesh has petitioned to authorities asking authorities to cancel the transfer of lands in Survey Nos. 402/6 402/7, 402/8, 402/16, 402/1,402/13, 402/14402/15,702/9 and hand it back to the Hindu farmers. The affected farmers have appealed to Hindu Munnani to help them regain their lands and met its leaders on January 8. Hindu Munnani assured them of all help, including legal actions at appropriate forums. Rajesh said the chances of a communal clash are high in the sensitive district.