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

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

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.

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.