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Panel to look into claim over Tipu's properties


The State Government has constituted a three-member committee to visit Calcutta and find out whether Mr Asif Ali Shah, - who is demanding a house in Srirangapatna from the state government, - is the descendant of Tipu Sultan and is in possession of wealth at Calcutta.

Prof Shaik Ali, well-known historian and former vice chancellor of Mangalore University is the convenor of the committee. Mr Khalid Ahmed, Chairman, Karnataka Wakfs Board and Mr Nissar Ahmed, IPS officer, are the members on the panel which is going to probe into the antecedents of Mr Asif Ali Shah.

The committee, which is visiting Calcutta on October 22 or 23, has been given a months time to submit its report to the government. On receipt of the report, the government will decide whether the assurance made by the previous government on the floor of legislature to Mr Shah, said to be the seventh generation descendant of Tipu Sultan, that a house should be provided or not.

Mr Shah on October 16 had staged a dharna in front the chief ministers residence alleging that no concrete steps have been taken by the government to provide him and his family members a house in Srirangapatna.

Labour Minister A M Hindasgeri today at a press conference disclosed the formation of the committee. Mr Rehman Khan, Rajya Sabha member, Mr Roshan Baig, tourism minister and Mr Khalid Ahmed, Wakfs Board Chairman were present along with Mr Hindasgeri.

All four Muslim leaders, while appealing to Mr Shah not to resort to agitation as that would make him lose public and government sympathy, said the government has been compelled to consider the request of Mr Shah as the previous government had assured him that he would be provided with a house.

Mr Hindasgeri said the monuments in Srirangapatna were well maintained by the Archeological Department and Wakf Board. And, it was impossible to allow anyone to claim rights over these properties. Staging protests would not bring respect to the descendants of Tipu Sultan, he added.

Mr Rehman Khan said the Gulam Mohammed Trust of Calcutta, which is maintained by the descendants of Tipu Sultan, was in possession of crores of rupees. But, the trust was not well managed because of in-fights in the family. He said if Mr Shah had any problem he should have approached the Trust or the West Bengal government.

Endorsing the views expressed by Mr Khan, Mr Baig said he had visited the Trust when he was the Wakf Minister during 1982. The Trust has property worth crores. But, it is mismanaged, he added.

Mr Khan further said lwe can give respect for the descedants of Tipu Sultan but not rights. On humanitarian grounds we will consider their request. But, no one can blackmail the authorities.

--- DECCAN HERALD, Saturday, October 21, 2000