Skip to main content

Builder-politician nexus in Ahmedabad for land named after Morarji behind tension in minority area: NGO team

Morarji Chowk
By Our Representative
A fact-finding team led by volunteers of the civil rights organization Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), Ahmedabad, has said that the recent tension in a Muslim neighbourhood of old Bapunagar area, where the Gujarat Housing Board wants to construct an affordable housing scheme, is the direct result of the nexus between local politicians and builders.
Alleging that the builders have been “eyeing” an open plot of land, Morarji Chowk, for years, a report prepared by a social activist for the team, Mujahid Nafis, said, “Ever since the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Gujarat government has wished to occupy the open space variously for a Gujarat Housing Board scheme or an accommodation for the police personnel.”
Quoting locals, the report said, the land has been used as a playground for children ever since Morarji Desai came here around 1951, apart from social functions and, now, as a parking lot as well. “Even state level football matches were played on this ground. Despite pressures, the local people have fought the efforts by interested parties to acquire the land”, it added.
“We were told by local women how State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel were trying to provoke tension by misbehaving with the local people for a few days. Things turned ugly on June 6, when, following prayers in the mosque opposite the Morarji Chowk, there were efforts to pacify tension”, the report said.
Without recalling the police claim that a mob of around 3,000 people had gathered to torch the nearby police station, the report said, the tension erupted four days before the incident on June 6, when some unidentified persons torched a few motorbikes parked, leading to a tent nearby catching fire.
Following this, on the night of June 6-7, the report said, “Cops entered several houses, and picked up 85 male folk at random. This included 11 adolescents, who were freed following local pressure. The police wanted to know who had torched the motorbikes.”
“The police FIR names of 10 persons who allegedly were involved in torching the motorbikes, apart from an unidentified crowd of 2,500-3000 persons”, the report said, adding, “One of the persons named in the FIR had gone abroad on May 16.”
The issue of construction of a Gujarat Housing Board (GHB) society in the Morarji Chowk is under dispute in the Gujarat High Court, which in May third week stayed the work.
This happened after the petitioners, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL), stated before the court that construction had started in the free space on May 16, even though the matter was pending before the High Court. The next hearing by Justice AJ Shastri was posted on June 7, the date on which the incident took place.
The GHB maintained during the argument in the court that categorisation of the Morarji Chowk land as playground was a “mistake”.
This was the second attempt by the GHB to use the land for housing scheme. In 1989, residents of the area had moved the Gujarat High Court against such a move. However, the GHB declared that it was not coming up with any construction on the plot, and the petition was disposed of.
The fact-finding team consisted of JSM’s Shamshadbhai Pathan, an advocate, Imtiaz Pathan and Ejaz Ansari, activists Azima and Mujahid Nafees, individuals Kaushar Ali Syed, Ejaz Pathan, Javed Kureshi, Vasif Husain, and independent journalist Kalim Siddiqui.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”