Why Vadodara residents want to stay away from Muslims
Letting Muslims inside will “hamper the peace-loving nature of our locality,” resident of kapurai, a major Hindu-populated area in Gujarat, wrote to authorities, opposing the Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s (VMC) decision to relocate 300 displaced Muslim families to there.
The majority community members held a motorcycle rally against the Municipal corporation’s decision and informed the authorities that agitations will continue until decision is withdrawn.
The corporation had earlier demolished 318 homes in the Muslim-populated Suleiman Chawl as part of “Slum free Vadodara” project and started working on resettling them in Kapurai area, where upper caste Hindus reside.
Meantime, the authorities made it clear that it will go ahead with the rehabilitation mission under the Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) housing scheme.
“We are firm on our decision to resettle families from Sulemani Chaali at Kapurai. We have already started processing their documents,” VMC commissioner H S Patel said.
The letter sent by the residents of Kapurai to VMC authorities accused that the daily activities of Muslims residing in Sulemani Chaali “involve assaulting and abusing.”
“The VMC has demolished the illegal Suleiman Chawl that had become a headache for 40 years. It is a matter of joy for the eastern part of the city. However, we oppose the VMC’s decision to relocate the Muslim families of Suleiman Chawl to alternate accommodation under the BSUP housing scheme on Dabhoi Road (Kapurai), which has developed as a luxurious area in the last seven years. Allotting homes to Muslim families from Suleiman Chawl in this area will hamper the peace-loving nature here,” the controversial letter said.
The letter also requested to relocate the displaced people to a Muslim-populated area so that the communal tension can be reduced.
“Fourteen years ago, when talks were held for demolishing Suleiman Chawl, the residents were to be rehabilitated in areas of Tandalja and Ekta Nagar (both Muslim-dominated areas), so it is surprising that they have been allotted homes under the BSUP scheme at Kapurai, which is still incomplete. We are worried about the future and we demand that the allotment of homes to Muslim families in Kapurai be cancelled and they be moved to areas inhabited by their own community.” The letter demanded.
According to the sources, a delegation representing the residents of Kapurai has met VMC standing committee chairperson Dr Jigesha Sheth and discussed the matter after it handed the letter over to him.
“It is a sensitive situation. We can either resolve it through dialogue or by taking tough decisions. The truth is that there has been a mistake many years ago while planning this relocation. Knowing well that there could be opposition of communities dominating a particular locality, the VMC should have planned housing schemes in certain areas for each community,” Sheth said after the meeting with the residents.
He also said that he will arrive at a final decision after he discussed the issue with the city mayor who is out the city, as of now.
The VMC had faced the same situation during a resettlement move of Kalyannagr residents when they were allotted houses in Sayajipura. Later on, the authorities had to change their decision to reallocate the minority community to majority community-populated area and resettled them in Kalyannagar itself.
According to an Indian Express report, the Kapurai is located nearby Hanuman Tekri, where the infamous best backery burning case occurred in which 14 people were killed. The bakery was run by a Muslim family.
Meantime, some newspapers reported that the residents of Sulemani Chaali staged a protest against the government’s decision to demolish their slums and set ablaze a police chowki, and a city bus.