Agra :That is a tall order. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board, which is battling the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for ownership of Taj Mahal, was asked by the Supreme Court to produce documents signed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to prove its claim over the monument.
The board has a week to produce the signatures of the emperor who died in 1666, almost 18 years after the monument he built in the memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, was completed.
Hearing a 2010 appeal filed by the ASI, the court directed the board to produce documents in support of its claim that none other than Shah Jahan declared the Taj a wakf property.
“Who in India will believe it belongs to the wakf board? These kind of issues must not waste the time of the Supreme Court,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra told the board.
Wakf is an endowment of land or property by a Muslim for a religious, educational or charitable purpose.
In 2010, the ASI had petitioned the court against the wakf board’s July 2005 decision ordering that the Taj be registered as the latter’s property. There is a stay on the order.
Appearing for the board, senior advocate VV Giri said Shah Jahan executed a wakfnama in favour of the board, a submission challenged by ASI. “Then you show us the original deed executed by Shah Jahan. Show us the signature,”?the bench shot back, granting a week’s time on Giri’s request.
CJI Misra, however, had a few questions for the board.
“How did he (Shah Jahan) sign the wakfnama? He was in jail and used to view the monument while in custody,” the country’s top judge said.
Shah Jahan died in the Agra fort where he was put under house arrest by son Aurangzeb in July 1658 following a bitter war of succession.
The bench also reminded the board that the 17th century monument and other heritage structures built by the Mughals passed on to the British after the end of the Mughal rule. After Independence, the monuments vested with the government and were being managed by ASI.
ASI advocate ADN Rao said there was no wakfnama. “Under the 1858 proclamation, the properties taken over from the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, by the British vested with the Queen. By the 1948 act, the buildings were taken over by the Indian government,” he said.
The board had in July 2005 given the order on a petition filed by one Mohammad Irfan Bedar. Bedar had moved the Allahabad high court because the board delayed its decision on the petition he filed in 1998. It was on the high court’s order that the board looked at his petition and claimed ownership of the Taj.
Pramod Sawant sworn in as 11th Goa CM
Mumbai : Vijai Sardesai from the Goa Forward Party and Sudin Dhavalikar from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both alliance partners, have been inducted as Deputy Chief Ministers, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
Sawant, 45, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a formal ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in the early hours of Tuesday.
Apart from Sawant and the two deputy Chief Ministers, nine other MLAs, all of them who were part of the previous BJP-led coalition cabinet headed by Parrikar, were also administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor and inducted as ministers in the state cabinet.
The Chief Minister said portfolios would be allotted to his ministers within eight days.
Sawant succeeds former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday due to complications arising from advanced pancreatic cancer.
The new Chief Minister heads a coalition government which has the support of 12 MLAs from the BJP, three each from the Goa Forward and MGP, and two independent MLAs, taking the tally of the treasury benches to 20 in the 36-member state legislative assembly.
“Parrikar is not among us now and this responsibility has been given collectively to me by my party, alliance partners and independent MLAs. This is a big responsibility,” Sawant told reporters soon after he was sworn in.
“I am committed to the development of Goa and to take forward the teachings of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a positive outlook,” Sawant also said, adding that he would focus on completing all infrastructure related projects started by his predecessor.
He was sworn in after a marathon session of hectic negotiations anchored by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP national president Amit Shah, who over a series of meetings, spanning more than 24 hours, with legislators from regional parties and independent MLAs forged a coalition together.
2008 Mumbai attacks one of the ‘most notorious’ terrorist attacks: China
Mumbai/Beijing: In a rare acknowledgment, China described the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”.
In a white paper on its massive crackdown against terrorists in the restive Xianjiang province, China said the global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years had inflicted agony on humanity.
The paper described the Mumbai terror attacks as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”, adding that the “global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years has inflicted agony on humanity”.
The release of the paper, “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”, interestingly coincided with Pakistan foreign minister’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to China.
Throughout the world, terrorism and extremism gravely threaten peace and development, and endanger the life and property of individuals, said the white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office.
The paper came days after China for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to designate Pakistan-based chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by putting a technical hold on the proposal, a move India termed as disappointing.
The JeM has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Striking aggressively at terrorism and furthering the de-radicalisation effort is the common responsibility of the international community and essential to the protection of human rights,” it said.
China opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism, and opposes double standards on fighting terrorism, said the white paper, adding that Beijing opposes linking terrorism and extremism with specific countries, ethnic groups or religions.
China advocates comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and the root causes, with the dual purposes of striking at terrorist activities and eliminating poverty, so that there will be no room for terrorism to breed, it said.
Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman
Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.
“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.
India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.
On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.
“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.
The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.
Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.
“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.
Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.
“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.
The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.
Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”