Azam Khan, Shia cleric clash over Waqf polls

Senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and minister Azam Khan and renowned Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Javvad appear to be heading for further confrontation on the contentious issue of alleged corruption in Waqf Board elections.

A recent demonstration by Shia Muslims to protest alleged corruption in nominations for the Shia Waqf Board members had turned violent when the protesters clashed with police, leaving one person dead and scores injured.

Javvad, who led the demonstrators, has alleged that Khan wanted to pack the Shia Waqf Board with his “stooges”, many of whom were accused of corrupt practices, an allegation vehemently denied by Khan.

Azam Khan on Saturday targeted Javvad and virtually accused him of selling Waqf property.

“The land of mosques were sold for building residential houses. Even the graveyards were sold,” Khan alleged.

In a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Khan sought a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities committed by clerics in managing Waqf Board properties. He also said that the people must “see the real face” of such people.

Javvad had on Friday met Akhilesh and asked him to intervene and prevent nomination of “tainted” people in the Waqf board.

“Azam Khan is shielding the corrupt. It seems that he is hand in glove with the tainted people,” he said.

The face-off between Azam and Javvad, an influential religious leader who commands respect in the Shia community, has become a cause of concern for Akhilesh Yadav. 

The Chief Minister, according to sources, finds himself in a fix in the matter. “He can not afford to annoy Azam Khan, who is known for his temperament and at the same time any thing that annoys the Shia community may prove to be counterproductive for us,” said a senior Samajwadi Party  leader here.

The Chief Minister has reportedly been trying to find a middle ground to resolve the matter.

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