Forces, civil depts illegally occupy over 5,500 kanals Waqf land: Govt

Forces, civil depts illegally occupy over 5,500 kanals Waqf land: Govt
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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has clarified the quantity of Waqf land in the state under the unauthorised possession of the military and paramilitary forces and various civil departments, saying that the property so occupied measures 5,632 kanals and 8 marlas.
The government responded after a ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) legislator, Zaffar Manhas, said that the administration should clarify whether it was a fact that 6,000 kanals of land was under illegal occupation.
Earlier, the legislator claimed that the government had said it would retrieve occupied Waqf land in the state within six months. The government, however, denied the claim.
“It was informed that efforts would be taken to retrieve the Wakf property under the unauthorised occupation,” the government stated.
“So far, an area measuring 210 kanals and 10 Marlas has been retrieved. It may, however, be mentioned here that nearly 3,300 kanals of Waqf property is under the unauthorised occupation of various defence, paramilitary forces and other government departments.”
The bulk of the Waqf land under illegal possession lies in the Jammu region.
The government stated that it has taken up the matter with the Home and other departments for them to either vacate the property or pay user charge rents.
Reminded that the Waqf Act does not allow the allotment of Wakf land to non-Muslims in Jammu and elsewhere, the government stated that the J&K Wakf Board does not provide for the allotment of Waqf land to members of the non-beneficiary community.
“No Waqf land has been leased out/rented to any non-Muslim after the commencement of the Wakf Act, 2001,” it stated.
“However, some of the lease rent deeds under the Wakf Act, 1978, were subsequently renewed as fait accompli with the approval of the state wakf council, after the coming into force of the Wakf Act, 2001,” it added.
In 2016, the government had said that 96,650 kanals and 13 marlas have been notified as Wakf land in J&K.
It stated that out of this, 55,014 kanals and 16 marlas are in Kashmir province and 41,635 kanals and 17 marlas in Jammu province. The Waqf land in Auqaf possession was said to be 90,653 kanals and one marla.
The government had then said that 2,710 kanals and 16 marlas of land were under the illegal occupation of the army and other paramilitary forces. It further informed that 896 kanals of land were in the possession of government departments while civilians were occupying 2,390 kanals and one marla of Waqf land.
Besides, the government had then claimed that it had appointed a Special Officer, Auqaf (SOA), to separately identify the land under the unauthorised occupation of the army, BSF, CRPF and police, so that the matter could be taken up at appropriate levels for regularisation or vacation.
It had further said the SOA was given instructions to pursue with the civilian departments to either vacate the land or seek its regularisation.