No Muslim Can Live here; so what if Govt has allocated a house? Govt needs to change the decision - Vibes Of India

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No Muslim Can Live here; so what if Govt has allocated a house? Govt needs to change the decision

| Updated: June 14, 2024 20:39

Vadodara residents will not let a Muslim occupy home in a government subsidised scheme saying Muslims are "nuisance." 

Vadodara residents will not let a Muslim occupy home in a government subsidised scheme saying Muslims are “nuisance.” 

Polarisation in Gujarat is intense. It has percolated now to every segment of the society. 

The latest to join in are Vadodara residents who do not want Muslims to occupy their society. Most Gujaratis do not even frown at this considering that ghettoisation is the norm in Gujarat. But the irony here is that the society has been built under the CM Awas Yojna, something like the PM Awas yojana. Gujarat’s CM Awas yojana clearly states that there will be no segregation on discrimination when anyone is allocated a house under the scheme. It is a subsidy scheme.

However, most of the 462 residents of the Motnath Residency Cooperative Housing Services Society Limited in Vadodara are protesting against allocation of a house to a Muslim. Allocation of house to a muslim means inviting nuisance and anarchy, says N H Patel, a society resident. (name changed on request).

The Muslim in this case who is being protested against is a single Muslim woman with a child. “Usually the government takes subtle care and avoids a mix up but we don’t know how this happened, ” a top Gujarat government authority told The Vibes of India from Gandhinagar. The Muslim woman is employed with the Central government’s ministry of entrepreneurship and skill development. 

The society – Motnath Residency Cooperative Housing Services Society Limited – is in Harni locality where Disturbed Areas Act of Gujarat is in place. Under the Act, it is mandatory to have the respective Collector’s permission to buy or sell property to a person of other religion in the area where the Act is in force.

President of the Society Bhavan Joshi told Vibes of India that since 2019 they have been protesting the move of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation to allot a flat to a Muslim family in the society where rest of the occupants are Hindus.Thee society residents are not even accepting the Muslim woman’s housing maintenance and now forcing the government to give her an accomodation in a “Muslim area”. It is interesting to note that at least 60 per cent residents in the society eat non vegetarian food so that they cannot go against Shahina Patel , the single working woman who is fighting for her right to her home.

The Society has been built under the CM Aawas Yojna and the allotment was done by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation about seven years ago. There are four such housing societies in the area where the needy have been allotted homes under various government schemes.

Joshi said they have been protesting ever since they got to know that a Muslim family has been allotted flat in K-204. This, he said, came to light when the family paid the maintenance.

“We have come to stay in Harni area as it is a Hindu area and the society residents have been saying that they do not want a Muslim as a neighbour as culture and everything is different,” he said.

Since 2019, the Society representatives have been representing the VMC, the Collectorate and the Police, but the status quo continues. The residents again started the protest because they “sensed some movement in the apartment last week”,  neighbours of K-204 flat claimed. Soon rumours spread and all other joined in. pointed out that they had seen some movement in the flat, indicating that the family will shift to this place.

Joshi claimed that he has been given an appointment by the Gujarat Chief Minister’s office to meet the latter after 10 days.

Calls to Vadodara Municipal Commissioner Dilip Rana went unanswered. The Muslim family, having Patel surname, could not be reached despite repeated attempts.

Sources close to the minority family said that they have always stayed in a mixed neighborhood and never believed in the system of ghettos.”I am a working woman. I have grown up in a mixed neighbourhood. Her son is in class 12 and she wants him to grow up in an inclusive neighbourhood. 

Ghettoization was already there in Gujarat, but it worsened after the 2002 communal violence in which thousands of people, mostly belonging to the minority community, lost their lives.

In a memorandum submitted to the authorities, the society residents have said that there is no property, owned by a Muslim, in the four kilometers area of the society. They have demanded that the allotment be cancelled, and the beneficiary Shahina Patel be given a flat in an area where there is Muslim population.

Atul Gamechi, a social worker from the area, justified the protests saying that the area has Disturbed Areas Act in force.

Opposition leader in the VMC Ami Ravat told The Wire that India is a democratic and secular country and there should not be any discrimination. She observed that the Disturbed Areas Act was brought in because people of minority communities (whichever it may be) were pressured by the other community to sell their properties. However, the very Act is being misused, she alleged, adding that a permission of the Collector is required if someone is selling or buying the property, but here it is the VMC that has done the allotment.

Top sources in the VMC confided that the allotment was done based on applications. Sources further said that they have been seeing that Muslims do not apply for purchasing homes in Hindu areas and vice-versa.

In Vadodara, the Muslim ghetto is in the Tandalja area where 1 BHK flat costs anything more than Rs 17 lakh.

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