New Delhi, 12 May-2014, J.S. IFTHEKHAR: He is trying to do a Kejriwal in the Wakf Board. And the results are there for all to see. In just five months after taking over the reins of the much-maligned Wakf Board, Shaikh Mohd. Iqbal has stirred the hornet’s nest. He has punctured many a bloated ego, cracked the whip against erring institutions and ended up being in the cross hairs of the dargah-mutawalli managements.
The beleaguered Board is never so active as when it is under the special officers’ regime. And it is no different now. From Day One, Mr. Iqbal has set about cleansing the Aegean stables in his own way. He has filed a string of police cases raising the hackles of the managements of dargahs and minority educational institutions. While his actions have drawn flak from Mutawallis and Sajjada Nasheens, there is also appreciation in some quarters.
A police officer, he likes to take the bull by the horn. “In the line of duty I have faced many tough situations and I will not hesitate to protect the Wakf properties at all costs”, the IPS officer tells J.S. IFTHEKHAR .
What are your plans for the Wakf Board?
I want to free the Wakf properties from all encroachments and ensure that they are used as per the Mansha-e-Wakf. If properly managed, the money accruing from the Wakf property is enough to turn the economy of Muslims. No Muslim will remain poor and uneducated.
How much revenue you propose to raise from the Wakf properties?
My target is minimum of Rs.700 crore.
What pains you most?
I am pained by the fact that Wakf property gets encroached with the active involvement of Muslims themselves.
What steps have you taken to protect Wakf property?
I have written to all District Collectors drawing their attention to existing GOs (59, 374, 6) and the need to implement them. Over the years several eviction notices were issued, but they are pending with the RDOs. Without cooperation from revenue authorities and police, Wakf lands can not be freed from encroachers. Earlier, the Wakf Board used to work in isolation. I have sensitised the district administration. Now things have started moving.
You are accused of showing a regional bias by targeting Mutawallis of dargahs belonging to Telangana alone?
It is wrong. I have suspended Mutawallis of all regions found indulging in mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. Out of the 14 Mutawallis of major dargahs suspended, only 6 are from Hyderabad and the rest from Seemandhra region. Three cases were also filed under Prevention of Corruption Act for the first time in the country.
There is a charge that you are against dargahs and subscribe to a different school of thought?
Presently, I belong to only one school of thought – Wakf protection. For your information, I also have immense respect for the Sufi saints and I am not against dargahs. A motivated campaign is launched against me, as I have started taking action against the erring Mutawallis.
I am pained that Wakf property gets encroached with the active involvement of Muslims themse-lves. How can they grab Wakf land, the owner-ship of which vests in God
– Shaikh Mohammed Iqbal, Special Officer, Wakf Board