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New fatwa to ease power burden in Uttar Pradesh

Sanjay Pandey Lucknow, Oct 31, 2012 DHNS: 1:07 IST

Free electricity in religious places is against Islam, says decree

In a state where the power corporation has been incurring loss worth crores of rupees owing to power theft and unrealised dues from government institutions, big business houses and religious places, a new fatwa can be expected to offer some relief.

The religious decree issued by a prominent Islamic seminary in Bareilly district, about 250 kilometres from here, on Tuesday has said it is haram (against Islam) on the part of religious places to use free power.

“Not paying for power used by religious places is not only illegal but also against shariat and is haram,” said the fatwa issued by Mufti Muhammad Usmani Quasmi, a senior cleric with the Bareilly based Islamic seminary Qasim-ul-Uloom.

The fatwa was issued in response to a query by an RTI activist Mohammed Khalid Jilani. Jilani had pointed out that many important religious places had been using power free of cost.

He had sought to know whether it was proper in the eyes of Islam. The fatwa said those visiting the religious places to offer prayer or to pay obeisance were as much responsible for sin as are caretakers of the religious places.

Uttar Pradesh power corporation had been incurring losses to the tune of crores of rupees because of power theft and its failure to realise dues from powerful politicians, government institutions, police department and big industrial houses.

Religious places are also on the defaulters list. Officials do not initiate action against the religious places and its caretakers fearing backlash.

Usually, the fatwas invite criticism from progressive Muslims. But in this case, it will be welcomed by the power officials as they may expect that at least some religious places may follow the advice and pay their dues on time.

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