Sunday, July 14, 2024

Maharashtra Government ‘s Grant to Waqf Board Sparks Hindu Outrage

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The Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government has stirred a hornet’s nest by allocating ₹10 crores to strengthen the State Waqf Board. This move has drawn sharp criticism from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which accuses the government of appeasing a particular religious community.

Allocation of Funds

The Minority Development Department of the Maharashtra government issued an order on Monday, June 10th, to distribute ₹2 crores to the Waqf Board in Aurangabad. In the financial year 2024-25, the relevant bodies will receive the allocation of the remaining funds. Reportedly, the government has earmarked 20% of its minority welfare funds to the Waqf Board this year.

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VHP’s Objection

Mohan Salekar objected strongly to the allocation and stated, “We will never tolerate this.” (VHP (Konkan) Prant Secretary Mohan Salekar). He accused the BJP leaders of opposing grants based on religion during elections but taking a U-turn after coming to power. Salekar warned that the Hindu community will express their anger toward the Maha Yuti (the ruling alliance) in the upcoming local body and Vidhan Sabha elections if the decision is not reverted.

Maharashtra: VHP Opposes State Govt's ₹10 Cr Grant To State Wakf Board, Terms It 'Appeasement'

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Endorsement from Islamic Scholar

On the other hand, Islamic scholar Mufti Manzoor Ziai welcomed the move, remarking, “It is a matter of happiness that the government has given 20 percent of the money allocated for the welfare of minorities to the Waqf Board. The funds can now be used better.”

Concerns Within BJP

A BJP office-bearer, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the seriousness of the VHP’s allegation. The office-bearer warned, “The government, especially Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, should take note of it. Else there will be a big problem during the elections.”

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Previous Conflicts

The VHP’s opposition to the grant comes in the wake of previous conflicts between Hindu organizations and the Waqf Board. In May, the entire village of Wadanage in Kolhapur observed a bandh to protest against the alleged land grab by the Waqf Board around the Mahadev Temple.

RSS Cadres’ Discontent

Moreover, there is a growing sentiment among RSS cadres that many BJP leaders do not take time out to meet them. The party is also facing criticism for granting permission for a Muslim graveyard near an ancient Shiva temple in Ambernath, despite agitations by Hindu outfits.

Potential Political Ramifications

The VHP’s warning of facing the wrath of Hindus during elections carries significant weight, given the organization’s influence among the Hindu community. The Maha Yuti government will need to tread cautiously to avoid alienating its core support base while addressing the concerns of minority communities.

As the controversy unfolds, the Maharashtra government must navigate this delicate issue, balance the demands of various stakeholders, and ensure inclusive governance.

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