MUMBAI: The BJP Government of Maharashtra denied Muslims 5% reservation which Bombay High Court had granted them before BJP came to power in Maharashtra in 2014. BJP leaders are against reservation for Muslims although they agreed to 16% reservation for Marathas. Infact the State BJP Government also issued a GR notification, but court rulings have stalled the implementation of 16% reservation for Marathas.
As far as Muslims of Maharashtra or India are concerned, it can be said that if the government gives all WAKF lands encroached by government agencies, industrialists, politicians and private individuals, muslims will not need any reservation.
The autonomous Wakf Boards, if managed Wakf land development properly, can generate enough resources for socio-economic and educational development of Muslim community. Thus Indian Muslims will not need any reservation.
However the governments are neither reforming Wakf Boards nor taking any steps to restore encroached Wakf properties. They are not even granting the 5% reservation, as granted by Bombay High Court in Maharashtra or as recommended by Rangnath Mishra Commission & Sachar Commission.
According to available data, there are approximately one lakh acres of wakf properties in Maharashtra alone. This data is also not exhaustive, as unscrupulous and mischievous elements in the long period of time have distorted the revenue records and converted many Wakf land into private land. Therefore, a fresh extensive land survey can reveal exactly how much Wakf land the state has.
Muslims have been demanding for such a survey for sometime. A sample survey of Wakf land has begun in Pune and Parbhani, as pilot projects.
Another disturbing fact is that more than 80,000 of approximately one lakh acre wakf land in Maharashtra have been misused or encroached. Thus, Wakf land must be released and rehabilitated, so that it can serve the purpose for which these have been endowed. Government however seem least interested in the cause.
The Wakf land issue also needs attention of common Muslims. They do not know the importance of Wakf properties and how these properties can revolutionize the condition of this community.