Other States

133 J&K mosques, shrines under Central Waqf Board

Holy site: The Hazratbal Shrine is among the religious places to come under the Central Waqf Board.

Holy site: The Hazratbal Shrine is among the religious places to come under the Central Waqf Board.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

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J&K Reorganisation Act introduces new governance system

All 133 Muslim mosques and shrines, with an annual income of ₹26 crore and 9,500 kanals (one kanal is 0.12 acre) of land, in Jammu & Kashmir have come under the Central Waqf Board under the J&K Reorganisation Act. All Hindu and Sikh religious places will be governed by the local shrine boards under the Acts passed by the erstwhile State of J&K.

“I stepped down from the post of Vice-Chairman of the J&K Waqf Board on October 31. There was no clarity on the continuation of the previous system. The J&K Reorganisation Act also shows no mention of the previous Act. In the absence of any formal order from the Centre, I preferred to step down,” Ghulam Rasool Sufi told The Hindu.

The J&K Muslim Waqf Board is a rich organisation and has pushed for the modernisation of education in the Kashmir Valley by supporting the setting up of the Islamic University of Science and Technology between 2002 and 2008.

The J&K Waqf Board takes care of 2,000 buildings and kiosks, and runs three nursing colleges.

Centralised system

Compared with the centralised revenue collection system of the J&K Waqf Board, the Central Waqf Board gives more powers to mutwalis, the traditional caretakers of the shrines, to collect endowments in the form of cash and jewellery and run the affairs on their own. The Central Waqf Act calls for 7% of revenue share from these shrines.

However, unlike the rest of the country, the J&K Waqf Board centralised all revenues and planned for expansion of infrastructure. “The previous J&K Board, given the assets and revenue model, was able to foray into the health and education sectors. It planned more such institutions and hardly ran any formal madrassas,” Mr. Sufi said.

Earlier, the Chief Minister of J&K used to be the chairman of the J&K Waqf Board and the Governor would mostly be chairman of the other shrine boards, including Shri Mata Vashno Devi Shrine Board and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.

The J&K Reorganisation Bill has, however, decided to keep intact the J&K Amarnath Ji Shrine Act, 2000; J&K Shri Mata Sukhrala Devi Ji Shrine and Shri Mata Bala Sundari Shrine Act, 2013; Shri Vaishno Devi Shrine Act, 1988; and Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Act, 1999. It also preserved J&K Sikh Gurdwaras and Religious Endowments Act, 1988.

A month after the Centre revoked J&K’s special status on August 5, the J&K Waqf Board approached then Governor Satya Pal Malik and pleaded with him for retaining the previous Act regarding the Waqf property “to continue with the efforts for expansion of modern education in the Valley”.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 7:44:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/133-jk-mosques-shrines-under-central-waqf-board/article30152275.ece

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