There has been a lot of ruckus about two decisions of the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh. The first is the survey of unrecognized madrasas and the second is the survey of waqf properties. The government believes that it is necessary to conduct this survey to improve the education system in madrasas, to tackle corruption. The government has also started work on it expeditiously and on October 25, reports from all the districts will be sent to the government. On the other hand, when the Madrassa survey was announced, all the opposition parties started opposing it. But the edge of this protest became blunt when all the big institutions including Darul Uloom Deoband supported the Yogi government’s decision of survey. Presently, when the matter was getting cold, the opposition parties have again started targeting on another decision of the Yogi government. In fact, on Tuesday, the UP government overturned a 1989 government order that mandated automatic registration of high or mounded land, barren land, Usar land as Waqf property. With this, the government has started the survey of Waqf properties in UP, this survey will also be completed by October 8. The UP government has directed all the district magistrates and commissioners to re-examine the documents of all the properties which have been registered under Waqf since April 7, 1989 and to record the status of such lands.

Now the politics has also intensified regarding the survey of this waqf properties. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is clearly opposing the madrassa survey and waqf survey. “We are against the survey of Waqf properties by the state government. It should not be done. This government has to entangle people only in Hindu-Muslim issue. People who survey madrasas will make India a 1 trillion dollar economy?” Akhilesh Yadav said.

But a slight change in the attitude of AIMIM is being seen this time. It is not vocally opposing the Waqf survey like the Madrasa survey, but is definitely raising questions on the intention of the Yogi government. AIMIM leader Asim Waqar said that in the last 15 years there have been big scams in the Shia and Sunni Waqf boards. The former chairman of the Shia Waqf Board broke the record of scams. There was a CBI inquiry in the matter, an FIR was lodged. Asim Waqar asked where was that report? When did he go to jail for scam? Asim Waqar said that the chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board was appointed in the BSP government, he remained the chairman in the Samajwadi government as well. When the BJP government came, then the same chairman in it too? The BJP government came again, and again the same chairman. He said that if there is an honest investigation, there will be a big manipulation found.

On the other hand, UP government’s Minority Welfare Minister Dharampal Singh says that Waqf properties are very important. Waqf is the property of God, no one has the right to take possession of it. The government has started conducting this survey with a clear intention. Orders have already been given to identify Waqf properties and take relevant action.

What is the whole matter?

In fact, the Yogi government had recently ordered a survey of unaided madrassas across the state. On this, Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM first protested, later all the opposition parties including SP raised questions on the intention of the Yogi government. Interestingly, this survey got support from all the madrassa operating units in UP. In this sequence, a big meeting regarding Madrasa survey was held in Darul Uloom Deoband recently. In this, supporting the government’s decision to conduct a survey, it was clearly said that madrasas built on government land are illegal and they should be removed. After the meeting, Maulana Arshad Madani, President of All India Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said that the order issued by the government regarding the Madrasa survey is justified. There is no wrong in this, so the government should be supported. He urged the madrasas to answer all the questions asked by the government in the survey. Nothing wrong with the survey has been found. As such, the survey should be supported. A resolution was passed in the meeting that the government’s survey would be supported.

After the announcement of Darul Uloom, the politics on madrassas had reduced a bit. But now another decision of the Yogi government has again started making rounds of rhetoric. In fact, the Yogi government has announced that it will conduct a review of public properties registered as Waqfs in Uttar Pradesh. The government says that the cemetery, mosque and Idgah land should be demarcated properly because, on the basis of the 1989 ordinance, many such properties which were Usar, Banjar and Bhita in the revenue records were also declared as Waqf properties. This order order was against both the revenue laws and the Waqf Act, so the Yogi government has canceled this 33-year-old mandate. Under the guise of this order, some cultivable land was also automatically registered as Waqf property, sources said.

In this case, the Minorities Department has issued instructions to all the Commissioners and DMs of UP to review such properties, which were registered in the Waqf against the rule. They should be canceled and the revenue records should be corrected. The government has set time till October 8 to complete this entire process.

What was that order?

On 7 April 1989, the Revenue Department issued an order, which stated that the properties of Waqfs are mostly recorded in the form of banjar, Usar, Bhita etc. in the revenue records, while there are Waqfs on the spot. Such properties, land should be properly recorded in the revenue records as to the status of Waqf property (cemetery, mosque, Idgah) and then demarcated. It is alleged that on the basis of this order, many such properties in UP, which were barren, waste etc. in the revenue records, were registered as Waqf in the records.

Everyone is eyeing on the Muslim vote bank, 

The Muslim population in UP is considered to be a little more than 19 percent. This population is in a decisive position with 30 percent on the 71 assembly seats of the state. At the same time, the population of Muslims in 141 assembly seats is more than the average Muslim population of the state. From a political point of view, whether it is a madrassa survey or a survey of waqf properties, both are directly related to the Muslim society and whether it is BJP or SP-BSP, all are now trying to woo the Muslim vote bank. The BJP wants to make inroads in the Pasmanda society by way of reforming the system as they have the largest number of Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh. Their children are getting educated in the madrasas and their interference in waqf properties is negligible.

On the other hand, Akhilesh Yadav’s SP has been the first choice of Muslim society, so he is trying to prove to be friendly by raising these issues. There is also a reason, in the 2022 UP assembly elections, the BSP was reduced to just one seat and the Muslim vote bank contributed significantly to the 111 seats that Akhilesh’s SP got. Even after this defeat, Mayawati admitted that the Muslim vote bank went outright to the SP. Now Mayawati is increasingly trying to reach the Muslim vote bank. The target for everyone is 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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