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

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.