Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Uday Mahurkar on Saturday passed an order on an RTI application against salaries being paid to the Imams in mosque by the Delhi government.
“Giving salaries to Imams only in mosques amounts to not just betraying Hindu community and members of other non-Muslim minority religions but also encouraging pan-Islamist tendencies,” he observed in the order.
“It is necessary to go into the history when it comes to giving special religious benefits to Muslim community by the state. A religious (Islamic) nation Pakistan was born out of the demand of a section of Indian Muslims for partition of India along religious lines. Despite Pakistan choosing to be a religious (Islamic) nation, India chose a Constitution guaranteeing equal rights to all religions. It is necessary to note here that it was the policy of giving special benefits to Muslim community before 1947 that played a key role in encouraging pan-Islamic and fissiparous tendencies in a section of Muslims ultimately leading to the nation’s partition,” the CIC noted in the order.
So giving salaries to Imams and others only in mosques, amounts to not just betraying the Hindu community and members of other non-Muslim minority religions but also encouraging pan-Islamist tendencies among a section of Indian Muslims which are already visible, Central Information Commissioner further noted in the order.
The order further reads the steps like giving special religious benefits to Muslim community only like the one taken up in the present matter, in fact severely affects interfaith harmony as they invite contempt for the Muslims as a whole from a section of ultra nationalist population.
“Lastly, it is pertinent to take note of the fact that the Delhi Wakf Board gets an annual grant of approximately Rs 62 crore from the Delhi Government while its own monthly income from its own independent sources is just around Rs 30 lakhs a month. So, the monthly honorarium of Rs 18,000 and Rs 16,000 being given to the Imams and Muezzins of Delhi Wakf Board mosques in Delhi is being paid by the Delhi government virtually from the tax payers money which in turn is in sharp contrast with the example quoted by the appellant in which the priest of a Hindu temple is getting a paltry Rs 2,000 per month from the trust controlling the said temple,” it added.
The Commission, therefore, deems this matter of extreme importance for the unity and integrity of the nation and interfaith harmony, and directs its registry to forward a copy of this order to Union Law Minister with the Commission’s recommendation for suitable action to ensure enforcement of provisions of Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution in letter and spirit, to keep all religions of India at par in terms of payment of monthly remuneration of priests of different religions at the cost of the pubic exchequers (both central and state) and also other matters, said the commissioner in the order.