Hyderabad: Even as Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao reassured the Assembly of securing Waqf lands, the ‘record room' for Waqf lands (like copies of the Gazette) remained inaccessible to department officials as it remained sealed for nearly three years. The record room known to contain thousands of documents (mostly from the Nizam era) that could back up the Waqf Board 's claims was sealed in November 2017, strongly guarded by security and with access only to Revenue officials.
"If the chief minister was sincere enough to stand by his word to protect Waqf assets, he should first ensure that the seal of the record room is removed and that officials of the department are given access so that proof can be presented in the courts. We welcome the commitment of the chief minister to protect the Waqf property. At least this time we hope he holds his word and walks the talk, unlike his hollow promises like the provision of judicial power to the board made during elections, "underlined Syed Hamed Hussain Shuttari, president of All India Sunni Ulama.
While referring to the House Committee report of 1995, of which Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi were also a member, it is considered that the committee had listed 1,33,209 acres of Waqf land within Telangana. However, after Telangana had been created, the government declared that there were 77,000 acres of land, of which only 41,538 hectares were registered before the chief Minister revealed that 56,000 hectares of 77,000 had been intrudized and everybody was puzzled. "Over the past three decades, over 1 lakh of land has disappeared from records and who is responsible. We hope that at least Minister of Welfare Koppula Eshwar, who has taken some steps in recent months, will rescue the properties from encroachment. To fulfil the pledge to claim the land being invaded, the government must immediately issue a GO in this effort, "said General Secretary Syed Ifteqar Hussaini from the Association of Save Waqf Properties.
It is worth noting here that, during its meeting with the Waqf State Board in 2019, the Central Waqf Council (CWC) also raised concerns. They demanded that the government 'unseal' the record room immediately and sought information on the extent of State Waqf assets, as they noticed enormous variance (77,000 acres before bifurcation and the beginning of the 2nd term of TRS administration).