Shining Mata Vaishno Devi Trust & Defunct Waqf Board!

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Most of the people in the world practice one or the other religion and majority of them are devout followers. Towards their religious activities and practices, they not only give their time but also donate money and resources. The money and resources are normally used to enhance the status of the people following the respective religion. It is a great social work as it helps in the upliftment of human beings.

Using the money and contributions collected from people many institutions and organizations are established to serve this noble cause. The institutions and organizations so established include schools, colleges, universalities, hospitals, hospices, charitable trusts and religious places of worship. These institutions and organizations are used for disseminating education, treating the poor and downtrodden, providing shelter to the homeless and food to the hungry and in the propagation of the religions.

The contributions towards these collected at religious places of worship mostly, while as hospitals and educational institutions established by the religious trusts also generate revenue. Besides, these institutions also aid in the great work of the governance of a country and state. They cover those areas where governments fail to reach or are slow to reach.

In our state commendable work has been done by many religious trusts but Mata Vaishno Devi Trust, Katra stands out as a shining example in the entire state. It has established a world-class university and an ultra-modern hospital and other big and small charitable institutions.

This great work should be commended and acknowledged. The trustees of this institution deserve praise for the feat they have achieved. It shows their will, sincerity, professionalism and dedication towards the upliftment of the people belonging to a particular section of our society. In a sense, it is the best way of following the teachings of one’s religion.

While Vaishno Devi Trust is a brighter side of the story the work done by its counterpart in the Kashmir Valley presents a darker side. Awqaaf or Waqf Board, which looks after more shrines than its Jammu counterpart has failed to rise to the occasion. If the contributions of Waqf to the society are counted there are hardly any. Except for IUST, there is no educational institution or any other institution of repute established by the Waqf in the state in its almost six decades of history. The contributions in the field of charity and charitable activities are known to only people associated with the Board as no audit report has ever been brought into public domain.

This is a disappointing state of affairs where an organization with such huge properties and revenue is incapable of producing a single institution of the repute in the state on the pattern of Mata Vaishno Devi University and the associated Narayana Hridalaya Hospital. On visiting these institutions of excellence one gets lost in the green environs there and only feeling that comes to one’s mind is respect and honour for people behind these projects.

The status of the Waqf Board is pathetic, to say the least. Every time a party comes to power Waqf becomes their jaageer.

People associated with the Waqf Board should make a fresh beginning and start implementing the promises made so far. They should make an audit of the accounts and see where the funds of the Board have gone and who are the people responsible if misappropriation of funds has taken place anytime. The status in respect of the properties of the board should also go through a similar kind of auditing and the people involved in the illegal transfer of the properties should be brought to the book.

Once that is done, responsibility should be fixed and the people involved in the misappropriation of funds and illegal transfer of properties should be made to pay for that and punished.

If this can’t be done in the current government headed by the Governor – who is known for his far sight and good governance – it hardly can be done in any other government considering the track record of those who have ruled the state.

Arshad Khan

[email protected]

Tral, Pulwama

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