Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe into a scheme announced by the former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) government for construction of boundary walls around the burial grounds for minority communities to guard against encroachments. A report by Indian Express states that around Rs 1,300 cr was spent on building these walls across the state in last five years. Adityanath government, which has already brought several other policies of the Akhilesh Yadav-led government under the radar, will also take an account of the total expenditure of this project.
The report states that UP government has formed a three-member inquiry committee headed by civil aviation special secretary Suryapal Gangwar along with a chief engineer of the PWD and a superintending engineer of the UP Housing and Development Board to conduct the probe. Several incumbent government officials have said that the scheme was touted to benefit minority communities, however, the money was used only for the burial grounds of Muslim community. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already raised the issue of construction of boundary walls wound graveyards during the Assembly elections.
During the campaigning of the 2012 Assembly elections, SP had assured to build the boundary walls around kabristans and soon after coming into power, the party gave a nod to the proposal in its first cabinet meeting held on March 15, 2012.
As per Indian Express, the District Magistrates were asked to take proposals from the Shia and Sunni Central Wakf Boards and sanction the cost of the boundary wall. However, the BJP which was then the opposition had protested the decision. The scheme soon came in line of fire with allegations of ‘Muslim appeasement’ made. SP government in September 2012 named the scheme ‘Alpsankhyak Samudaayaon ke Kabristaanon/Anteyshti Sthal ki Bhoomi ki Suraksha Yojana,’ and included other minority communities including Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis.
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Speaking to Indian Express, the Minority Welfare minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said that the scheme was meant for cremation grounds and graveyards of all minority communities, but the money was spent only on kabristans and not a single rupee was utilised to benefit other minority communities. Thus, probe would be conducted on several grounds. “It is regarding quality of construction, illegal possession of land through boundary walls of kabristans and alleged anomalies in awarding contracts for the construction,” Chaudhary said.