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Uttar Pradesh graveyard walls project may become a housing scheme for triple talaq victims



LUCKNOW: The BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government is considering converting a scheme started by the previous Samajwadi Party government for building boundary walls around minority communities’ burial grounds into a housing scheme for women who have been abandoned under the triple talaq practice.

Still in early stages of planning, the scheme, aimed at rehabilitating abandoned victims of triple talaq, will add to the welfare scheme started by the Yogi Adityanath government last year, under which Rs 6,000 annual financial assistance is given to each such woman. The chief minister had also called for rights for the women under waqf properties, government jobs for the educated as well as shelter in order to rehabilitate them.

Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had introduced a scheme that sought to build boundary walls around burial grounds of minority communities, including Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Sikhs, to safeguard them from encroachment. However, he was often criticised by the BJP for allegedly benefiting only the Muslim community.

It is also believed to have evoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement during a BJP rally ahead of the 2017 assembly election in UP, where he said, “There should be no discrimination… if there is land for qabristan (graveyard), there must also be provisions for shamshan ghat (cremation grounds).”

The Samajwadi Party government had spent about Rs 1,300 crore under the scheme during its five year-rule till 2017. After coming to power, Adityanath had ordered a probe into the expenditure under the scheme.

An official said an impact assessment has showed that the success rate of the scheme has not been satisfactory, which is why the government is considering using the budget of Rs 100 crore allotted to it currently, for providing houses to the abandoned Muslim women.

Meanwhile, the government is undertaking a second survey for a “real” assessment of the beneficiaries of the annual pension scheme, said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

The first survey had brought to light only 1,200 such abandoned women, which the state believes is much lower than the estimates, according to the official.


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