BENGALURU: BJP MLA and former Union minister Basangouda Patil Yatnal has termed the Waqf Act as “outdated, biased, and discriminatory” and urged the Centre to abolish it. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP leader said the Act had been exploited by previous governments to disrupt social harmony and the Waqf Board has been using its constitutional authority to acquire prime lands across the nation.
“While the Waqf Act was originally enacted to manage Waqf properties, there are no equivalent laws in place for properties belonging to followers of other religions. The Waqf Act, first passed by Parliament in 1954 and subsequently revised in 1995, conferred additional powers upon Waqf Boards. In 2013, this Act was further amended, granting unprecedented authority to Waqf Boards to acquire properties without recourse to legal challenge,” he stated.
He said according to data from the Waqf Management System of India, there are currently 8,54,509 properties under the jurisdiction of the Waqf Board, spanning more than eight lakh acres of land. “It’s worth noting that the concept of Waqf does not exist in Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Iraq. The extraordinary powers vested in the Waqf Board should be revoked immediately as they essentially legitimise the unlawful occupation of land in the name of charity,” he alleged.