They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so one wonders what the photographs of Home Minister RR Patil with deported Pakistani national Sayyed Waseem-ur-Rehman Shah must mean.
Investigations by Sunday MiD-DAY have revealed that Patil was aware of Shah’s presence in Bhandup, after it was brought to his attention by MLC Ram Pandagale in May 2010. In fact, Patil promised to take action against Shah, but photographs show Patil offering prayers with Shah just two months later, in July 2010.
When contacted, Patil said, “We meet many people. We do not ask them their nationality. However, I will find out why no action was taken by authorities despite being directed to do so.”
On Tuesday, MiD-DAY had exposed how Shah, a Pakistani national, has been involved in a bitter land dispute with trustees of a Bhandup-based wakf which manages Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Mansurul Hasan Shah Kutubul Auliya, a local dargah. Despite repeated pleas by the wakf’s trustees to police and politicians alike, no action was taken until the intervention of the Bombay High Court on August 17. The court granted them police protection to celebrate Urs, and demanded an explanation from the External Affairs Ministry and the Police, to be given at the next date of hearing on October 9.
‘Shah supported by corrupt politicians’
On May 3, 2010, Pandagale had complained to Patil, stating that Shah was a Pakistani national who had entered India illegally and usurped the property of the dargah, which has properties in Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Sangli, Miraj, Ahmedabad, Ajmer and
The letter (the copy is available with Sunday MiD-DAY) reads, “This is to inform you that no police action has been taken against Waseem-ur-Rehman Shah alias Jugnumiyan, a Pakistani national. This Pakistani national is causing a law and order problem in the area. He has the support of several corrupt politicians. [His presence] is a threat to national sovereignty and the government.”
The letter also referred to the dispute pending between the dargah’s wakf and Shah before the wakf board in Aurangabad. Similar letters were later sent off by Pandagale to police authorities. On Saturday, Pandagale confirmed to Sunday MiD-DAY that his office had indeed dispatched such a letter to Patil.
According to sources, the photographs were taken on July 28, 2010 as part of Shab-e-Baraat celebrations — two months after Patil’s reply to Pandagale’s letter.
‘I am looking into the matter’: Patil’s reply in 2010
A reply from the office of the Home Minister (copy available with Sunday MiD-DAY), signed by Patil dated May 5, 2010, reads, “We are in receipt of your letter dated May 3, 2010. We have notified the DCP Zone VII to take further action in the matter. In this manner, I am looking into the matter.”
Advocate Ajit Kenjale, who represents the wakf trustees said, “That was the last we heard from any authority. No action was then taken in the matter until we moved court.”
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said, “As per the directions of the Home Ministry, I am conducting a thorough enquiry into the matter.”
Police, Ministry of External Affairs pulled up
Last week, the Bombay High Court pulled up both the Ministry of External Affairs and the Mumbai police for dragging its heels in the matter.
Shah currently lives in Bhandup, and is locked in a bitter feud with trustees of the dargah. The trustees have alleged that Shah is trying to usurp the dargah land from them, even though his role in the dargah is limited to that of a spiritual guide. Animosity reached such a level that the trustees had to seek police protection for their festival.
The division bench, comprising Justices AS Oka and SS Jadhav, noted that Shah is a citizen of Pakistan and was earlier deported on May 19, 2007. “We find that even the police machinery of the State has made no enquiry as to how [he] is in India. It is obvious that if [he] has illegally entered, appropriate legal proceedings/action will have to be initiated, noted the bench.
By the next court hearing, the Union of India and the police have been instructed to file affidavits explaining how Shah is still present in the country