The Telangana State Waqf Board (TSWB) is grappling with the issue of the State government eyeing a part of a land parcel endowed to Tharthare Shah graveyard in Bansilalpet for constructing dignity housing scheme units.
On Thursday, Minister for Animal Husbandry Talasani Srinivas Yadav and officials of the TSWB, including Chairman Mohammed Saleem, jointly inspected the site, and posted photos of the development on social media. Sources said that some officials appraised the Minister of the nature of the land parcel.
According to sources from the board, revenue officials, and a Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation official had inspected the site last month. Further, in a letter dated July 17, the Revenue Division Officer, Secunderabad wrote to the district Collector, stating that Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav had requested that a 375 square yards land parcel in the Muslim burial space be handed over for the construction of 16 2BHK units.
“Some 13 persons from the Muslim community sought the Minister’s intervention in this issue and the units were intended for them. Everybody knows that once an institution or property is declared waqf, it is always waqf. All documents about the property, including its gazette notification, and muntakhab, are available. It is very strange that the Revenue department is seeking graveyard land for construction of 2BHK houses. A large part of the graveyard is already encroached and whatever is remaining should be protected,” a board official said.
This is not the first time the graveyard has allegedly been threatened. In January, the TSWB lodged a complaint at the Gandhinagar Police Station stating that attempts were made to demolish a portion of the graveyard wall so as to gain access to a 2BHK building adjacent to it. The board also made it clear in the complaint that according to the Waqf Act of 1995, any attempt to alienate, buy or take possession of a waqf property without permission from the board is punishable offence.
Activists on Friday raised hackles against the move. Osman bin Mohammed al-Hajiri from the Deccan Protection Society visited the graveyard and said he would approach courts of law, if required. “There is a 2BHK building right beside the graveyard. The 13 petitioners can be accommodated in them, or any other similar building. What is the need to ask for waqf land? We will approach court it the need arises,” he said.
For his part, TSWB Chairman Mohammed Saleem said, “We have only conducted an inspection. It does not mean we will give away the land. We will put the issue before the board and see what happens.”