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Dawat-e-Iftar? Telengana minority budget funds ignore poorest of poor, underprivileged

By Dr Lubna Sarwath* 

In the court order dated 17.6.2017 in WP(PIL)143/2017 it is mentioned that 'Learned Additional Advocate General would also state that the expenditure for the dinner to be hosted by the State government in the LB Stadium would not be incurred from the funds earmarked in budget for Minority Welfare'.
In spite of such assurance incorporated in the High Court Order, the state government year after year allocated the state iftar from Minority Welfare funds.
In the two Public Interest Litigations WP(PIL)143/2017 and wp(pil) 142/2018, an appeal was made to the High Court at Hyderabad, that crores of public exchequer squandering of funds in the name of a religious affair, that too from 'Minority Welfare' budgeted funds, where neither minority nor welfare was the objective, be stopped.
Six years on the judiciary is yet to heed to our appeal.
In the order passed in 16.6.2017 in WP(PIL) 143/2017, the Chief Justice had ordered that as per the Government Order and as per the statement given by the Government in the Court, it has to be ensured that the food in Dawat-e-Iftar should go only to the 'poorest of poor', destitute women, orphans, widows, other poor, etc. Verification should be done by the government both while disbursing the food/clothes and also post-iftar by the government. The same to be submitted to the court.
But, it is observed in all the years from 2015 onwards till 2023 the recipients of the iftar were neither identified as per Order. They were neither 'poorest of poor' nor other categories mentioned above, as the attached pictures of and the story on the Dawat-e-Iftar of 2023, show.
In the name of secularism, corruption cannot be condoned. What goes on in the name of lavish iftars is not secularism, rather, it is nothing short of an urge to camouflage the injustice done to the very section of population in whose name funds are budgeted, but spent otherwise.
Apart from the splurge of food/fruits etc. there is no record of who gets the clothes pack, who got the tender to supply the clothes, why CM picture on pack when it is out of public funds? Who spent the Rs 1 lakh given to each of 815 masjid committees. What sort of a scheme is this and to fulfil what objective? From Minority Welfare budget funds with no welfare of Minority or any citizen absolutely.
It is expected that the High Court at Hyderabad takes cognizance of the contempt of its Order. The squander and corruption of funds should not just be stopped but the investigation and recovery of funds should be ordered.
At a time when employment recruitment is in a shambles, vacancies in numerous departments including critical are aplenty, housing and education for the more than 1,000 slums in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is a far cry, health and nutrition is not a concern, women security/empowerment is not top priority, Dawat-e-Iftar has become an occasion for timepass and keep masses sedated.
---
Petitioner in WP(PIL)143/2017 and WP(PIL)142/2018, joined by Talha Jabeen, Nikhat Fatima, Shameem Sultana, Amina Niloufer Hussain, Dr Jasveen Jairath, Sanghamitra Malik, and many other conscious citizens

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