NEW DELHI -- Residents of a neighborhood in Vadodara are resisting the rehabilitation of 300 families, mostly Muslims, into their locality. The Muslim families were displaced after their homes were destroyed in a demolition drive against slums, but residents of Kapurai are blocking them from entering their "luxurious area."
The Indian Express reported today that residents of Kapurai have written a letter to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, insisting that Muslims from the Suleiman Chawl would “hamper the peace-loving nature here” as their “daily activity involves assaulting and abusing."
“The VMC has demolished the illegal Suleiman Chawl that had become a headache for 40 years. It is a matter of joy for the eastern part of the city. However, we oppose the VMC’s decision to relocate the Muslim families of Suleiman Chawl to alternate accommodation under the BSUP housing scheme on Dabhoi Road (Kapurai), which has developed as a luxurious area in the last seven years. Allotting homes to Muslim families from Suleiman Chawl in this area will hamper the peace-loving nature here," the letter said.
The Indian Express reported that Kapurai is located a kilometer away from Best Bakery, which was attacked by a mob during the religious violence that consumed Gujarat in 2002, killing 14 people.
Vadodara was also Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency before he vacated it following the Lok Sabha election 2014, and retained Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
“Fourteen years ago, when talks were held for demolishing Suleiman Chawl, the residents were to be rehabilitated in areas of Tandalja and Ekta Nagar (both Muslim-dominated areas), so it is surprising that they have been allotted homes under the BSUP scheme at Kapurai, which is still incomplete. We are worried about the future and we demand that the allotment of homes to Muslim families in Kapurai be cancelled and they be moved to areas inhabited by their own community," the memorandum said.
The Indian Express reported that Muslim families are not being allowed to move into their new houses, and the police is posted around Kapurai to prevent any untoward incident.
“We are all poor and have our livelihood in this area. The women work as domestic helps, mostly in Hindu homes here. I do not understand the opposition," he said.
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