HYDERABAD: While the land grabbing row slowly unfolds at highest echelons of the Telangana government, voices from the Waqf Board, to probe similar cases on their land, are also getting shriller. By the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s own admission in Assembly, the Waqf lands were now reduced to mere 20,000 acres from over 77,000 since the TRS came to power. Activists are demanding a judicial probe by CBI in into the encroachments.
According to sources, the Telangana State Waqf Board, which has no teeth, has remained a mute spectator particularly after the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh.The record room of the Waqf Board, which contains important documents, remains inaccessible even to the Board officials. On the other hand, land grabbers, who are well connected to the current government, have already encroached up on huge chunks of land.
Activists who have represented the matter on several occasion to public representatives and even Welfare Minister Koppula Eshwar, have alleged the involvement of not only BC Welfare Minister G Kamalakar (as recently pointed out by Congress), but also others. “A well-known example is the issue of Mamidipally, where a 12-acre land worth `120 crore is encroached upon by the kin of MLA Danam Nagender. In 80 per cent of the cases, those with political clout have eaten up almost 57,000 acres of 77,534 acres after the TRS came to power,” alleged general secretary of Association of the Save Waqf Properties, Syed Ifteqar Hussain.
Recently, former MLA and AICC secretary, SA Sampath Kumar, had also alleged that almost all Cabinet Ministers were involved in land grabbing, some of them being Waqf lands. Sampath alleged that Kamalakar had encroached upon 14 acres in Qazipur village of Karimnagar. Waqf Properties Protection Cell president, Nayeemullah Shareef, recalled that in 1995, there were 1,33,209 acres of Waqf land. “When the TRS took to power, it was 77,534 acres and gradually, it shrunk to 20,000 acres. If the CM is serious about protecting Waqf lands he should launch a probe on the lines of inquiry being conducted in Eatala’s case,” he said.