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Gujarat HC asks civic body to decide on waqf plea against renaming locality after ‘Shivaji’

New Delhi: The Gujarat High Court has directed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to decide on a representation made by the Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Committee against a proposal to change the name of a residential locality from ‘Afzal Khan no Tekro’ to ‘Shivaji no Tekro’.

The Town Planning Committee of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had on 14 October laid down a plan for the renaming process, which was then forwarded to a standing committee.

According to the Live Law, the waqf committee — in its representation to the municipal corporation on 15 October — had claimed that no prior notice was given and neither was it informed about the resolution, given the waqf has ownership over multiple properties in the locality.

In its representation to the municipal corporation, the waqf board had called the resolution “unconstitutional” and “arbitrary”. It also said that the Gujarat State Waqf Board, the highest statutory authority, was not consulted in the matter. The representation further noted that the Afzal Khan Masjid, the Afzal Khan Dargah and a piece of land leased to 137 tenants in the area belong to the waqf committee.

Zahirul Hassan, president of the Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Committee, told ThePrint, “What will changing the name of this area do? Will the standards of living change? The question we need to ask is who is the corporation really for.”

The resolution was finally passed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on 18 October and the waqf committee then approached the high court on 19 October.

‘Vote politics at play’

According to a report in The Ahmedabad Mirror, a property situated opposite the New Cloth Market in Sarangpur, measuring 3,116 square metre, is also owned by the waqf committee.

Hassan also said that residents in the area were aware of “vote politics” at play in the matter, especially with the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. “If you want votes then show us that work has been done,” he added.

A single bench of Justice Sandeep N. Bhatt of the Gujarat High Court Wednesday directed the municipal corporation to decide on the representation made by the waqf committee in a week’s time. With the decision on the representation pending, the court also said that it was “not inclined to interfere in the matter”.

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Source: The Print

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