Focus

Muslims compelled to leave Swarnim Gujarat

Modi’s Gujarat
Muzaffarpur (Bihar): This city recently witnessed the fact that the atmosphere created by the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 is still fresh and Muslims of that state are even now migrating from that state due to persecution. A group of 22 Muslims from Islampur village of Gujarat’s Mehsana district who were on their way to settle in Kolkata, broke their train journey at this town because some people had fallen ill and hence needed urgent medical treatment. On 16 April after Friday prayers in the town’s Eidgah Masjid, Muhammad Rustam Khan, leader of this group, narrated his story saying that conditions in Gujarat are so bad that for Muslim families who are small in number in any city or town there, it has become a compulsion to leave their hearth and home and move out to other states because Hindutva organisations there like RSS, Bajrang Dal etc have made their living difficult there. The state government also is taking revenge against us, he said. We and our children are falsely implicated in different cases and the life and honour of our daughters and daughters-in-law is in danger. Local Hindu Patels compel us to say “Vande Mataram”. Our places of worship too are not safe. Under such circumstances seven Muslim families consisting of 22 persons of Islampur decided to migrate to Kolkata leaving their  homes in the village in the custody of God. Now there is no Muslim population in that village, he said.

In this migrating team there were old and young people, women as well as eight young children. They took Sabarmati Express from Ahmadabad and somehow reached Gorakhpur where some people fell ill and after treatment arrived at Muzaffarpur in Bihar and broke their journey here too to treat the sick before embarking again on their journey to Kolkata by train.

It is worthwhile to add here that Gujarat riots have some connection with Muzaffarpur because Sabarmati Express whose compartment had caught fire (or was burnt) runs between Ahmadabad and Muzaffarpur. It was another accident that some victims of Gujarat riots were in this town seeking help from the Muslims of Muzaffarpur who readily came forward and helped the hapless travellers and made arrangements for their journey to Kolkata.

Rustam Khan said that in their native village they were engaged in dying and printing work on cloths and some people of their village are already engaged in this job in Kolkata and they are going to Kolkata hoping to get their help to settle down there. Those people are settled in Khizrpur area of Kolkata. About his ancestral village Islampur, Rustam Khan said that it is situated at a distance of 40 kilometres from Mehsana which is adjacent to Rajasthan. Before Independence there was a large population of Muslims in this village but during and after Partition most of them migrated to Pakistan. Muslims in its neighbouring areas also migrated to Pakistan and now the Muslim population in the area is very small. (NA Ansari)    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2010 on page no. 1

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