Goa Muslims fight dumping ground politics

Goa graveyard issue
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For more than a decade the problem of Muslim graveyard in Goa has not been resolved. Gokul Das Naik, Distt Collector (of Madgao South Goa) told Masjid-e Gausiya General Secretary that Chief Minister Digamber Kamat  says "Musalmaanoon ko isse acchi jagah nahin mile gi, inko koodey mein daal do." Mr. Carol alledges that Naik is responsible for misplacing the 1994 Goa graveyard land acquistion papers.

New Delhi: National Commission for Minorities called Mr. Sanjay Kumar Shrivastava, chief secretary of the Govt. of Goa and Mr. Abdul Matin Daud Carol, General Secretary, Masjid-e Gousiya, for hearing on Goa’s Muslim Qabristan on 24 May 2011.

The bench of NCM as well as Mr Carol were present for the hearing while the Goa chief secretary was absent offering silly reasons and had instead sent S. Kumarswamy, Secretary Revenue and Valsala Vijayan, Dy. Resident Commissioner, Govt. of Goa in Delhi. Mr. Sayed Iftiyaz, president of Popular Front of India Goa, was also present at the hearing.

At the start of the hearing, NCM Chairman Wajahat Habibullah siad, “We have not received any communication in the ‘Muslim Qabristan’ matter as promised by the chief secretary and collector of South-Goa District, Mr. Gokuldas Naik.” He added that two reminders were sent to the state government but there is no reply. He called upon the petitioner, Mr. Carol, to put up the case. Mr. Carol said that the land which was objected by the Muslim community in 1980 at Sonsodo (as per assembly resolution of 1999) is being forcibly dumped upon the Muslim community without it  being consulted in the matter. Even Chief Minister Mr. Digambar Kamat has gone to the extent of sending his goons to Jama Masjid Margao to force its committee to accept the Sonsodo land. Also, Margao Municipality has passed a resolution regarding the said land by dividing it between three communities. He said that the chief minister has been and is still using Muslims for his political gains without considering any of their demands.

Reacting on Abdul Matin comments, Mr. S. Kumarswamy said that the 1999 resolution speaks about “available land” for Muslim Qabristan and that they located four sites and selected one at Sonsodo for it, which will be acquired very soon by the Goa government. At this, the NCM chairperson said that “Mr. Abdul Matin has strongly objected to it and he is spearheading this campaign and he should have been consulted before making any decision.”  Sayeeda Imam, NCM member, said that “I strongly object to Sonsodo land as we were told of four options to choose from in the last hearing and this has not been complied with.”

The chairperson said that the state government has not sent a competent authority to represent them and this is not acceptable to the commission. The meeting was adjourned as it is pointless speaking at the hearing. Iftiyaz said speaking at the hearing that “Goa has the worst chief minister since liberation, who uses goondas to further his goal.” Mr. Wajahat Habibullah said that Goa government is taking NCM lightly and “we will not tolerate it anymore.” He further said that “Goa is a tourist spot known  world-over and it is a shame that they cannot provide a burial place to its citizens.” Sayeeda Imam said that “Goa government is playing with the Minority and its not fair on its part to ignore this important issue.”

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2011 on page no. 1

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