Self-serving Auqaf leaves Pampore’s historic Eidgah in neglect

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Pampore: The Eidgah in main town Pampore, one of the oldest in Kashmir valley, has been lying in neglect because the Idaarae Auqaf-e-Islamia is unable or unwilling to take care of it, locals said and alleged that this is due to some “influential families” using the Auqaaf body to further their own interests.
As per local sources, the Eidgah’s age-old boundary wall made of stone suffered damage during the devastating floods of September 2014. The Idaarae Auqaf-e-Islamia Pampore, instead of mending the stone wall, demolished it. The Auqaf body proposed to construct a new fence around the Eid-Gah.
Almost four years later, the new fencing remains incomplete despite the fact that lakhs of rupees have been donated by locals for construction of the wall.
“Every Eid, for the last four years now, they have been collecting money from the locals. Apart from that, the employees of Auqaf-e-Islamia conduct door-to-door collection drives several times during the year,” the locals whom Kashmir Reader talked to alleged.
The locals said they want to know where the money being collected is going, as the managing body has not even been able to erect four walls around the Eid-Gah, leave alone any other new construction.
In wake of this apathy by the Auqaf, the Eidgah is being used by some people as a dumping yard for construction material and as a parking lot by some others.
“You can see the construction material dumped around and the cars parked. That’s what the Eidgah has become. The people running the Auqaf should give up the Eidgah to some other people to manage,” the locals said.
They also alleged that the hegemony of certain influential families over the Auqaf-e-Islami has left the body in absolute disarray.
“These people are not ready to give up their posts in the Auqaaf and they have been grossly incompetent all their lives. Corruption within the body is also an issue,” the locals said.
They alleged that these families use the services of some locals every year and then discard them, giving them no role within the organisation.
“This has been going on for several years. They create dummies to give an impression that the Auqaaf is working in a democratic manner. But then the dummies are removed and the reins remain in the same hands,” another local told Kashmir Reader.
Kashmir Reader talked to the President of Idaarae Auqaf-e-Islamia, Muhammad Maqbool Shah, who maintained that the work was being carried out as per the monetary collections.
“We don’t get an overall collection of more than 25 thousand rupees every Eid. Still, we have somehow managed to erect three walls around the Eidgah,” Shah said.
He blamed the people for using the Eidgah as a parking lot and a dumping yard.
“People do not have the etiquette to not use it for such purposes. What can the Auqaaf do about it?” Shah said.
He also claimed that the Auqaaf body was ready to hold elections if new people want to come forward –when asked about allegations of hegemony within the organisation.
“We don’t have an issue if somebody comes forward and is elected by the people to head the Auqaaf — unless the person is from the Hanafi sect,” he said.