Special Reports

With police protection, corporation bulldozes graveyard in Dahod

Ahmedabad:   In Dahod city of Gujarat, the municipal corporation and police administration united in the demolition of the walls of the “Muslim Qabristan” at Eidgah and the nearby graves with a bulldozer and laid down the foundation of a road in the darkness of the night. This has again put a question mark on the intentions of the Gujarat police against the Muslim minority. When Muslims protested, 22 of them were arrested. This incident has caused uneasiness in the Muslim population of the town. There have been some incidents of stone-throwing between the Muslims and the police as a result.

It is worth noting that this graveyard is very old. It is used by half of the Muslim population of Dahod. Muslims had built a green wall on all the four sides of the graves. There is also a historical reservoir near the graveyard, called “Historic Chhab Talab” and a highway. The corporation claimed that the graveyard occupied some of the land of the road and that the graveyard wall occupied some part of the reservoir. Therefore, action was necessary. The corporation, by taking this extreme measure on 11 September, has converted this dispute into full lawlessness and has clearly flouted the court orders.

A delegation of Muslim organisations, under the leadership of the general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e-Gujarat reached Dahod on 11 September and recorded its protest at the Collector’s office. Members of the local waqf board told the delegation that this was a really cruel act which was also a clear contempt of court, for which they plan to approach the court. The managers of the graveyard showed the delegation a copy of a court order in which the municipal corporation had been ordered, before the extension of road, to get the area verified and its border marked in the presence of the district inspector of land records as well as a maulavi or trustee of the graveyard and only after that it may start the road work without interfering with the graveyard.

The delegation, after inspection of the area and studying the court verdict, felt that the administration has not only desecrated the graveyard but also flouted the court order. The general secretary of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Gujarat, Prof. Nisar Ahmad Ansari, said, “What we saw was sufficient to assess that the police and the corporation had hurt the feelings of the citizens. We met the district collector, M.A. Gandhi, in his office and informed him about the court order and the Muslim feelings. “We asked him to immediately stop the road building work and take immediate action against the corporation officials responsible for the demolition of the graveyard wall”, he said.

On the other hand, the municipal corporation claimed that they had tried to mark the boarder with the waqf board members some months ago, to which the local population objected. That’s why this step has been taken. In this connection, when the delegation of Muslim organisations asked the local population about their alleged action, they termed the allegation as baseless. “The corporation was eyeing our land since long and it is building the road, unmindful of opposition,” said Prof. Nisar Ahmad Ansari. He added that the police is responsible for implementing the law and application of court decisions, but here the police itself was flouting these orders. He added that news reports indicate that here the Gujarat police has throughout supported the municipal corporation, which is not the proper way of administration. He said they had met the Gujarat police chief at Ahmedabad and requested him to take action for proper maintenance of law and order and for getting the court decision implemented.

The delegation included members of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Milli Council and members of the civil society. Ulama from Gujarat condemned the police and the corporation action and have asked the CM, Anandi Ben Patel, to intervene personally to establish a government based on justice and order.         

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2015 on page no. 13

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