SRINAGAR: Jamiat Ahle Hadeeth (JAH) is intending to set up a base for its educational institutions on 100 kanals of a wetland at Narkara in Srinagar outskirts. The proposed filling up of wetland for the educational institute, has created resentment among many, but the organization says they are within their rights, as the plan is legal, as well as permissible in Islam.
President JAH, Prof Ghulam Mohammad Bhat Al-Madni told Kashmir Reader that the state government leased out the land at Narkara to them few years ago as a replacement for 300 kanals of land in Tengpora.
Bhat said that 300 kanals of land were donated to the organisation by residents of Bemina, Tengpora, and Batamaloo, in late 1970’s, with proper documentation, but was “snatched by the government”, where a court has now been constructed.
“So the Narkara wetland is our land, though nearly 200 kanals less than what was taken from us,” he said. “And Islam allows us to construct anything on it.”
According to the Rakhs and Farms department, the custodian of the wetlands in the Valley, the Narkara wetland minimises the risk of floods in the uptown areas of Srinagar.
In 2014 floods, the wetland has been instrumental in preventing a number of uptown areas from getting inundated.
“We are aware about the risk of floods, and the need of wetland. But, see, there is a huge stretch of land already under construction.
There are other swathes of wetland too with the same equation, so if we go for construction on it, how will it add to flood risk. Would not the construction on other parts of wetland do the same,” Bhat added.
The state government has already transferred one patch of Narkara wetland to Indian Institute of Management (IIM) without the approval of Rakhs and Farms, and Irrigation and Flood Control departments. Then education minister Altaf Bukhari had told Kashmir Reader that the land was not a wetland, a claim that goes against government records.
Now, the land filling for another institute would further reduce the wetland, adding to the flood risk.
General Secretary, JAH, Abdul Lateef Al Kindi told Kashmir Reader the organisation hopes to consolidate its spread of 175 schools, and set up an Islamic college, a medical and engineering college.
“Though it has not been figured out yet whether we will go with the construction at the same site. We are also exploring other position taking different factors into account. The land in any case will be in the possession of the organisation. We have already erected corrugated iron sheets on its boundaries, paid lease money to the government, and now will fill it will earth,” he said.
Kindi said the JAH is more than 100 year old organization which has contributed to education and spreading of Islamic message. It is also running diagnostic centres in various parts of the city. At present they are constructing a hospital in old city. The wetland is intended for Transworld Muslim University, for which a bill was passed by lower house of assembly, but was stalled in the upper house
“Our purpose is to help humanity. We will strive in its way, education is one such service,” he added.