Skip to main content

Gujarat declares communal torn Vadodara "disturbed", bans sale of real estate property between communities

By Our Representative
Vadodara, the cultural capital of India, is now a "disturbed area" for another five years. The Gujarat government move declaring it a "disturbed area" comes following communal clashes, which began last week and continued unabated for five days. The communal clashes were preceded by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) distributing "Love Jihad" leaflets in Vadodara which warned Hindu parents to ensure that their daughters do not fall in the trap on "well-dressed Muslim boys." The clashes have seen several stabbings, and large-scale loot and arson incidents, in "sensitive areas". Women's organisations have accused plainclothes cops of breaking into minority households with iron rods in hands, picking up boys, and attacking womenfolk.
The new notification extends the application of the controversial disturbed areas Act on the city’s “sensitive” areas till 2019. Called Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas (amendment) Act, 2009, it prohibits sale of real estate property between Hindus and Muslims in areas the district collector declares “disturbed.” The original Act 1991 was meant for Ahmedabad only, but in September 2009 it was amended to make it applicable to entire Gujarat, with sweeping powers to district collectors to declare specified areas as “disturbed", banning sale of property between the two communities. Currently, 40 per cent of Ahmedabad is “disturbed area.”
Vadodara district collector Vinod Rao, reportedly justified re-imposition of the disturbed area provisions on “sensitive” areas, sahing, it has nothing to do with the recent violent communal clashes. According to Rao, the earlier notification declaring certain areas of Vadodara “disturbed” expired on September 30, one reason why it needed to be extended in order to “protect the interests of minorities so that they do not indulge in distress sale, and no one is able to evacuate a particular section from any locality.”, Riots in Vadodara were triggered last week because of a Facebook post, which sought to morph the image of a Hindu Goddess with that of an Islamic religious symbol. In all 140 arrests have been made following the riots.
Currently there are about dozen areas of Vadodara which are “disturbed”. However, according to reports, there have been demands for putting at least 10 more residential colonies – some of them posh – in the "disturbed" list. In case the government decides to add more areas, a separate notification would need to be issued. As of today, 50 per cent of Vadodara – third largest city of Gujarat – is “disturbed”, including the entire walled city. Declaring certain areas as "disturbed" and banning sale of property between members of two important communities is unprecedented in India.
Vadodara is known for some excellent academics who who were associated with the city. These include former Reserve Bank governor IG Patel and Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishanan. It has a renowned fine arts faculty attached with the MS University, Vadodara, with which top artists such as Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, Himmat Shah and Vivan Sundaram were associated with it. It experienced its first major communal in 2002 with the rest of Gujarat. The rioting saw the infamous Best Bakery incident, in which 14 persons, including 11 Muslims and three Hindu employees, were burnt alive. Aggressive saffron attacks have continued thereafter in the city. Members of the saffron brigade targeted artists drawing "objectionable" paintings.
Eleven years following the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, in which more than 1,000 people died, the Gujarat government declared in 2013 several new areas in Ahmedabad as "disturbed". Apart from communally sensitive Shahpur and Dariapur, it brought Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya, under the disturbed areas Act. Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya saw possibly worst violence in 2002. Minorities in these areas abandoned their homes, and were seeking to sell their properties because of sharp rise in real estate prices.

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.