//Muslim families forced out of Gujarat village

Muslim families forced out of Gujarat village

fascismPALANPUR: At least 100 members of the minority community – including women and children – have been allegedly forced to move out of Kharvada village in Mehsana district’s Visnagar taluka by the Chaudharis, the predominant community there, over the issue of land for a graveyard. They have been living with their relatives at Badarpur, Kesimpa and Vadnagar within a 10-km radius from their homes and farms since last Monday.

Four of them – Momin Mehboob Habibbhai, Momin Haidarali Habibbhai, Momin Ahamdbhai Valibhai and Momin Mohamad Husain Rahimbhai – wrote a letter to President of India Pratibha Patil on August 28 detailing the circumstances under which they were forced to leave their village. Copies of the letter have also been marked to the National Human Rights Commission of India, Director General of Police, Gujarat, DIG, Gandhinagar Range, Mehsana district collector and Minority Commission of India.

The letter seeking justice says that ever since they asked for a piece of land from the state government for a graveyard, they were ostracised by the Chaudharis in the village. “At present, we are living with our relatives at Badarpur, Kesimpa and Vadangar,” says 70-year-old Rahim Chacha.

“No sooner was the request for the graveyard approved in principle by the state government, a restriction was put on all our religious activities by the villagers. We were stopped from offering prayers and teaching Muslim history at the madrassa. The Momin Shiya Jamat members were threatened of dire consequences if they persisted to live in Kharvada village. Finally, we left on last Monday leaving behind our homes, farmland and other properties,” says Haidarali Habibbhai.

Mehsana district collector Ajay Bhadu says the community’s demand for a graveyard was under process of the village panchayat. Efforts are on to persuade the panchayat to take a decision in the matter and sort out the differences between the two communities.

TNN 31 August 2009,