Suggestion in tune with a 1993 Supreme Court ruling on the matter

The A.P. State Minorities Commission has strongly advocated that Imams and Muezzins be paid salaries by the Wakf Board, in tune with the Supreme Court judgement of 1993.

The order is already being implemented in Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Delhi and Andhra Pradesh should not lag behind, Commission chairman Abid Rasool Khan said. There are 32,165 mosques in Andhra Pradesh and 6,122 in Hyderabad.

Funds are in plenty, with the Minorities Welfare Department having a budgetary allocation of a hefty Rs. 1027 crore.

“Not even 30 per cent of the budget has been spent so far,” Mr. Khan said at a consultative meeting convened at the Siasat office, where a large number of Imams and Muezzins had gathered on Sunday.

The chairman called for the creation of a database on the number of Imams, Muezzins and mosques registered with the Wakf Board.

The same would be submitted to the Chief Minister, who had recently spoken about implementation of the court order to the mosque personnel. Next year’s budget should have a separate provision for payment of salaries of Imams and Muezzins.

Siasat’s Editor Zahid Ali Khan said it was a pity that even an order of the apex court order had not been implemented. If Wakf property at Manikonda and other places were to be restored, the money would be enough to solve problems of the community, he said, while suggesting that old mosques be repaired and maintained instead of constructing new ones.

All India Markazi Council Aaimma Masjid president Mohd. Ali Quadri demanded that Imams be paid a salary of Rs. 15,000 a month and Muezzins Rs. 12,000.

“What the Imams and Muezzins are being paid today is a pittance and is not at all sufficient to meet the basic needs,” Mr. Quadri said. Implementation of the Right to Education for the children of Imams and Muezzins, provision of house sites and free computer training were the other demands.

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