National Conference (NC) Wednesday took strong exception to the announcement of the Union Minority Affairs Minister on setting up of two separate Waqf Boards for Sunni and Shia sects in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh terming the measure unacceptable and gross interference of religious affairs of the Muslim community.
A statement of NC issued here said that criticizing the announcement, NC spokesman Imran Nabi Dar said that the move would create further discontent among the people.
“The proposed move is unacceptable as it amounts to interference in our religious affairs. Waqf boards are part and parcel of the social and cultural life of adherents of Islam and therefore inappropriate for the Government of India to interfere. As a matter of our stated policy, we deem it highly inappropriate for the governments to butt in religious affairs. Our party has been consistent in its view that the Waqf bodies should be allowed to work autonomously bereft of any control from the government,” he said.
Reacting to the statement of the union minister that there were no Waqf boards in J&K, Dar said, “Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah first established the Auqaf trust and the trust continued to operate without government control for decades. It was only in 2002 that Auqaf was put into the government hands. As far as Shia Waqf is concerned, it too is being run autonomously. Shia leaders have strongly detested the idea of having its properties being run by the government.”
He said that the proposed move had legal and jurisprudential bearing as it infringed on the right of Muslim bodies to manage their religious affairs.
“Besides, such measures should be left to the J&K legislative Assembly to decide upon,” Dar said.
The NC statement said that Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, the NC leader, who is also a prominent Shia leader, had previously, in a series of tweets, also rejected such a move.