A pall of gloom has descended over the people of Thiruchendurai village in Tiruchirapalli district as the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board has reportedly claimed the entire village to be its property.
Tamil Nadu Waqf Board is a statutory body established under the Waqf Act 1954 that supervises and manages Waqf institutions and administers Waqf properties.
Waqf properties are those movable and immovable properties, dedicated by a person professing Islam, for any purpose recognised by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.
According to a report by Tamil daily Dinamalar, one Rajagopal of Mullikarupur owning agricultural land in Thiruchendurai village had entered into an agreement to sell 1 acre 2 cents of his land to one Rajarajeshwari. He had gone to the Joint III Sub-Registrar office in Trichy to arrange the purchase deed for ₹3.5 lakhs and get it registered.
However, he was told by the sub-registrar that the land cannot be registered as it belongs to the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board. The sub-registrar had told him that he has to get a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board office in Chennai to sell the land.
When Rajagopal had asked why he needs to get a NOC from the Waqf Board to sell a land that he purchased in 1992, the sub-registrar reportedly told him that this is the procedure for any land to be deeded in Tiruchendurai village. Apparently, the Waqf Board has sent a letter to the Registration Department along with documents that the entire village belongs to them and that those who come to register a deed for a land in the village, should get a NOC from them.
He was also shown a copy of the 250-page Waqf Board letter regarding the same. In that letter, the Waqf Board has said that tens of thousands of acres of land all over Tamil Nadu are theirs.
Rajagopal later explained his ordeal to the people of Thiruchendurai village who are now concerned about the take over of their lands by the Waqf Board.
They have noted that when they already have the revenue department documents including patta, chitta, adangal, revenue ‘A’ registration, encumbrance certificate, how the Waqf Board can claim Thiruchenthurai village as its own property.
The issue was brought to the notice of the District Collector who has reportedly assured to look into the matter and take a decision based on that.
BJP leader from Trichy Allur Prakash had noted that the Thiruchendurai village is a picturesque agricultural village located on the south bank of Cauvery River where large majority of the people are Hindus. “What is the relationship between the Waqf Board and Thiruchenthurai Village?”, he was quoted saying in the report.
“There is the Manendiyavalli Sametha Chandrasekhara Swamy temple, which has a ‘paadal petra sthalam. Various documents and evidence suggest that this temple is 1,500 years old. The temple owns 369 acres of land in both inside and outside Tiruchenthurai village. Does this temple land also belong to the Waqf Board?” Prakash was quoted saying.
It is believed that Lord Renganathar of the Srirangam Temple wakes up in Tiruchenthurai village during the Adibrahmotsava festival of Panguni month.
“When individual of the village hold the land documents, how can the Waqf Board declare it to be its property without any evidence? Even if the Waqf Board has issued a letter claiming the lands to be its own, how can the higher officials of the Registration Department order not to register the deed without verifying the claims of Waqf Board?”
The Tamil Nadu Government Registration Department official on their part have said that there are encroachments on water bodies, Waqf Board properties and temple properties. The department claims to have received information that through forged documents, unrelated persons were holding these lands with many embroiled in legal disputes.
“The court criticized the government on the issue and directed to take appropriate steps to recover the assets. Based on that, in 2016, the government took measures to recover the assets. Following this, the Waqf Boards stepped in to recover their properties all over Tamil Nadu. It has sorted out what it found to be its assets and notified them to the department. It has also asked the registration department to stop any arrangement for registration of deeds in respect of certain properties. It is on this basis that entire villages including Thiruchendurai and Kadiakurichi have been identified as Waqf Board properties.”, Registration Department officials were quoted saying in the report.
Officials also noted that they will be speaking to the Secretary of the Minority Welfare Department and the Chairman of the Waqf Board.
They admitted that it is absurd to refer to Thiruchendurai temple and the lands belonging to it as Waqf Board properties and that they have been facing problems when deed registrations have to be denied on the basis of Waqf Board’s letter.
Apart from villages like Thiruchenthurai and Kadiakurichi, regions in and around Chennai also have this problem where lands have been claimed by the Waqf Board.
(This article was first published on The Commune on September 12, 2022, and has been republished with consent)