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Muslim body targets Pataudi, he turns to Bhopal clergy

Muslim body targets Pataudi, he turns to Bhopal clergy

Author: Milind Ghatwai
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: February 10, 2007
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/22869.html

From property disputes to the alleged hunting of a black buck, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi has always had his share of troubles.

Now the former India captain has been forced to approach the clergy and get a fatwa issued against a little-known Muslim organisation, All-India Muslim Tyohar Committee, which has alleged that he is no longer a Muslim because he consumes liquor and has acted in films.

The Shahar Qazi has ruled that the committee has no religious standing and no authority to 'excommunicate' any Muslim. And yet the organisation has succeeded in getting the governor and the state government to intervene in a matter that deals with religious properties worth hundreds of crores in and around Bhopal. A couple of properties are also located in Saudi Arabia.

The properties are controlled by Auqaf-e-Shahi Wakf, a body created when the Bhopal State merged with the Indian Union.

The merger agreement made it clear that only a member of the erstwhile royal family will head the body.

Committee chairman Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram had written to the governor demanding that the body be merged with the Wakf Board because Pataudi was no longer a Muslim. In his complaint, Khurram had enclosed a copy of the decision of Majlis-e-Shoora, which in its June 19, 2005 order, expelled him from the community for his alleged non-Islamic activities.

The governor forwarded the complaint to the chief minister, who discussed it at a meeting he had with the chief secretary. The state government in turn asked the Wakf Board to look into the complaint and ask the body's explanation.

Before replying to the state government notice, Pataudi approached the Shahar Qazi and got a fatwa issued in his favour. Pataudi is expected to arrive here on February 19 to make a personal appearance before the Wakf Board.

"The government has nothing to do with his religious status, it's only looking into the points and complaints on which the demand for merging the body with the Wakf Board has been made,"

CEO of Wakf Board Nusrat Mehdi told The Indian Express today.

Auqaf-e-Shahi's secretary Anwar Khan, who holds power of attorney for Pataudi, said the demand was illegal because the merger agreement clearly marked out properties and made it mandatory that only a member of the royal family will head it. Pataudi is only an accused in the black buck poaching case and the trial is pending, he said in his reply to the Wakf Board.


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