Have created a Rs.200-crore Minority Development Fund, says Gehlot
After years of waiting and an order by the High Court last year, the Jaipur Haj House finally became a reality, with State Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurating the building here on Sunday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at Karbala near Ramgarh Mor here, Mr. Gehlot said the Rajasthan government was committed to the welfare of minority communities and had created a Rs.200-crore Minority Development Fund.
The decks for the construction of the Haj House had been cleared in 2003 during Mr. Gehlot’s previous stint. However, there had been opposition from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad during the BJP rule under the chief ministership of Vasundhara Raje.
Ms. Raje, however, had stood up to the opposition from the VHP, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and one of her own ministers, by laying the foundation stone of the Haj House in September 2006 amid violent protests.
Last year, the Rajasthan High Court dismissed a petition seeking the cancellation of land allotment for the Haj House by the Raje government on the grounds that it reflected State patronage to a particular religion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gehlot urged the Muslim community to “come forward and spread education as no community could progress without the same”. He also said the State government had declared the new rent policy for Waqf properties. “The State government has provided Rs.3 crore to the Waqf Board. Survey for more than 3,000 Waqf properties has been carried out and this year a grant of Rs.10 crore will be provided to the Board,” said Mr. Gehlot, adding a provision of Rs.25 crore had been made for modernisation of Madrasas in the State.
With elections to the State Assembly approaching fast, the inauguration of the Haj House reflects a significant symbolic pro-Muslim gesture by Mr. Gehlot, especially in light of the Muslim community’s continuing dissatisfaction at his government’s handling of the Gopalgarh riots and in view of the spurt in sporadic incidents of communal violence across the State recently.