Skip to main content

Ahmedabad's 243 shanties of Muslims razed: With little help coming in, suspicion around forced displacement grows

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat authorities are still in the dark about what may have caused a major fire, which broke out March 25 night, razing to the ground 243 shanties on the banks of a huge city lake, there appears to be little consolation for nearly 1,000 people, who have been rendered homeless because of the fire. Living in sub-human conditions ever since, the administration, they say, hasn’t yet gone beyond carrying out a “survey” of the losses suffered by them.
Mostly Muslim migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, all of them came to Ahmedabad as labourers to work on construction sites, but never returned. If earlier they were living in the open, the shanties came up about two decades ago, says Raisabanu Ibrahim, one of those whose house has been reduced to a rubble.
In a representation to the district collector, Ahmedabad, on the very next day, March 26, Ibrahim says, she has lost “almost everything” in the fire, including furniture, utensils, clothes, cash, and jewelry. “We have even lost our documents necessary to prove that we are residents of the locality”, she adds, requesting the authorities urgent help.
If the details of the survey of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities are still not available, an on-the-spot survey carried out by Ahmedabad-based NGO Janvikas has said that, in all, the fire has rendered 984 persons homeless, and a preliminary estimate suggests, the loss of their property comes to about Rs 3 crore.
While all of them have lost their huts, the survey says that as many as 241 families lost their utensils, 152 families lost their cupboards, 169 families lost their television sets, 225 families lost foodgrains which they had gathered for the year, 222 families lost their furniture, 174 families lost their cash, 53 families their jewelry, and 38 families lost their goats.
JItendra Rathod, a senior activist of Janvikas, involved in the survey, told Counterview that drinking water remains a major problem for the families which have been rendered homeless. “While food is being arranged from local sources, it is not known how long it will continue”, he said.
Rathod said, “While the land on which they are staying does not belong to them, the houses in which they stayed were in their names. They were their legal owners. However, as most of the residents have lost their identity proof, including living permission, ration cards, aadhaar cards and election cards, they have become even more vulnerable.”
According to him, “With administrative support still not coming in, the suspicion is growing that a major reason for the fire could be displace them from the site.” He added, “It may be recalled that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had forward a Rs 5 crore for the beautification of the Chandola lake, which is the second biggest in Ahmedabad following Kankaria lake.”
Rathod said, he has “no confirmation” if there is any truth in the suspicion, with the view also floating around that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder or a short circuit, yet, the fact is, these slum dwellers have still not been offered any alternative place of living, or if they be relocated. “It all happened after 11 in the evening, when it was already dark. While locals told us that there is no casualty, a few have suffered burns”, he said.
Meanwhile, say residents, the authorities are trying to persuade people in the area to leave the spot to “clear” the rubble. Refusing to leave, a local resident said, there were issues of 'territory', and if if they leave the spot, someone else would claim it. So they would continue to sit on mounds of ash with their belongings.

Comments

Unknown said…
look at the cheap attempt by adding the words "MUSLIM" to headlines. if the slum was HINDU would this reporter have written it?
Unknown said…
Look at the cheap attempt by this reporter

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."