Why is Shia Board chief trying to please BJP?

Why is Shia Board chief trying to please BJP?

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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Board of Waqfs chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi addresses a press conference to announce his new political party "Indian Shia Awami League" in New Delhi on May 14, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
By Amita Verma
Lucknow, Nov 28 (IANS) Waseem Rizvi, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, has been bending backwards to please the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
From announcing support for the grand Ram Temple, donating Rs 51,000 for temple construction, terming madarasas as "hotbed" of IS ideology, to producing controversial films "Ram ki Janambhoomi" and "Aisha" -- Waseem Rizvi has done it all.
Rizvi has now announced that he will request the government to hand over the five acre plot to him since the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board is not too inclined to accept the offer made by the Supreme court.
Waseem Rizvi said: "We will propose to build a hospital on that land which will be beneficial to the society."
But why is Waseem Rizvi becoming pro-BJP even at the cost of annoying his entire community?
According to a Shia cleric, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Rizvi's leanings towards BJP are basically a ploy to save himself from the wrath of the government.
"Under the Samajwadi regime, Waseem Rizvi was an acolyte of Azam Khan who even got him appointed as chairman of the UP Shia Waqf Board. There are dozens of FIRs registered against him for corruption and forgery," he said.
Maulana Kalbe Jawad, a prominent Shia cleric from Lucknow, said he was deliberately attempting to "create a rift between the two sects that would enable the government to marginalize the community as a whole".
Muslim groups, last year, had even held a press conference to "expose" Rizvi's alleged lies and political motivations.
Leaders of Muslim groups argue that Rizvi's statements reek of political opportunism. Rizvi is on the defensive, they say, with over a dozen FIRs against him for alleged corruption during his tenure at the Waqf Board and a controversial political past.
Allegations against Rizvi include embezzlement of board funds to the tune of Rs 70 crore. However, Rizvi maintains these allegations are only being cooked up to "weaken his argument".
He was expelled from his community in September last year after he gave a statement saying that homosexuality was prevalent in Madarasas.
Arif Qasmi of the Imam Foundation, said, "Earlier, he was never seen without Azam Khan. Now, he is trying to appease the Yogi Adityanath government to keep his corruption cases buried."
He is even booked in a case of cheating along with Azam Khan.
The FIR was lodged at the Azim Nagar police station of Rampur in August on a complaint by a cleric Zameer Naqvi, who accused Azam Khan and others, including Wasem Rizvi, of fraudulently changing the records of enemy property in Rampur, so that it could be transferred to Maulana Jauhar Ali University where Khan is the chancellor.
According to sources, Waseem Rizvi comes from a humble background and his father was a railway employee.
After working in various trades in Saudi Arab, Japan and America, he returned to India to start his political innings through municipal elections. He became member of the Shia Board and then its chairman.
He had even announced a new political party, Indian Shia Awami League (ISAL), last year and said it aimed to safeguard the interests of Shia community and also work for social harmony.
Rizvi, however, rubbished all allegations against him and said that he would continue to work for religious and social harmony.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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