Deplorable condition of Imams
SHRC asked to intervene, Petitioner takes a dig on Waqaf Board and Hajj and Auqaf Department
Srinagar: Taking a dig on Waqaf Board and Hajj and Auqaf, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum has submitted a petition in State Human Rights Commission in which it has claimed that these bodies have failed to protect the interest of ‘Imams’ while both these bodies are paying handsome salaries to their employees ignoring the plight of religious clerics.
The petition filed by one M.M.Shuja on behalf of Peoples Forum has claimed that the fact finding team of the Forum has revealed that Molvi Iftikar Ahmed of Gurez whose wife allegedly slaughtered her two kids were putting up in a godown type shed in Bemina, completely inhabitable for human beings. “Without prejudice to the police investigation the Forum suspected that the mother of the children compelled by financial constraints slaughtered her children and even tried to do away with her life. The Forum came to know that the father (Imam) of the slaughtered children was just being paid an honorarium of Rs 5500 per month,” the petition reads.
The petitioner has alleged that neither the Waqaf Board has so far been able to evolve a need based policy regarding Imams nor has been able to regulate the conditions of the service of such respectable class of society. “More than 55 percent of the income of the Waqaf Board is spent for salary of the staff most of whom are retired government employees. Many of such retired employees have been engaged in the board on political considerations,” the petition reads.
In the petition it has also been alleged that Waqaf has become a personal property of ruling party while the Hajj and Auqaf department has also not been able to regulate and enforce a system, which would govern the conditions of service of Imams, nor has the said department been able to prevail upon the Waqaf Board to improve its style of functioning.
“As per norms it was decided that the minimum wages of Rs 12000 per month for Imams should be fixed but that has not been implemented so far. “The net result is that the right to live with dignity in respect of Imams has been scuttled and is required to be enforced and protected by this Hon’ble Commission,” the petition reads and appeals the Commission to pass on directions to all Waqaf Baords, local Masjid managements, administrators of Muslim shrines to fix the minimum salary of Imams at Rs 12000 per month and free lodging facility in case of non-resident Imam. (CNS)