Gujarat : Waqf Tribunal orders removal of road and restoration of graveyard managed by the Shihor Memon Jamat

Last week, the Shihor Municipality in Bhavnagar was ordered to deconstruct the road built by demolishing the graveyard that was managed by the Shihor Memon Jamat. The Gujarat State Waqf Tribunal asked the municipality to reinstate the graves, fallen trees and the toilet back to its original position in the graveyard.

According to a Times of India report, the Shihor Municipality had built a road as a part of infrastructural development by demolishing the outer part of the graveyard. The tribunal in its order has said that the expenditure of the restoration shall be recovered from two of the officers who carried out the demolition.

Giving the ultimatum of 24 hours, the tribunal has further ruled that if the road is not removed within 24 hours, the restoration expense shall be borne by the chief officer of the govt body. On February 2, the municipality had carried out the demolition after it issued the notice to Shihor Memon Jamat to remove the part of its graveyard construction for road.

The matter escalated as the Jamat knocked the doors of civil court after the demolition. It later withdrew the suit from the civil court and approached the Gujarat State Waqf Tribunal to decide over the issue. The civic body in its argument claimed that the land on which the road had been built never belonged to the Shihor Memon Jamat while the city survey reported that the land was a graveyard that belonged to the waqf.

Citing the SC order, the tribunal further said that the land once becomes a graveyard, is always a graveyard. It has sought a detailed report from the civic body over restoration and has asked the city police to issue protection once the road is removed.

“Waqf” means the permanent dedication by a person professing Islam of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognised by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable. This means that any property by a user can be registered with the Board and it becomes ‘waqf’ and it remains so even if the original owner of the property dies. Graveyards are also properties registered with the waqf.

Source : OpIndia

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