As part of their continuing protest against the decision of the VMC to allocate homes to Muslim families of Kalyannagar under JNNURM in their vicinity, the residents of Sayajipura in Vadodara on Monday formed the Sayajipura Hindu Hitrakshak Shanti Samiti and submitted a memorandum to District Collector Avantika Aulakh. In their memorandum, the residents have demanded that the VMC’s upcoming JNNURM and EWS housing projects in their vicinity must be declared “illegal” for having violated the guidelines laid down by the state government.
In their memorandum submitted to Collector Aulakh, the residents of private residential societies, who now call themselves the “Hindu Hitrakshak Shanti Samiti”, have contended that the VMC’s decision to allot homes to the Muslim families of Kalyannagar must be declared “illegal” as it has not followed the due procedural guidelines. The memorandum states, “The VMC has decided to allot homes to the Muslim families without following any procedural guidelines laid down for relocation. They have also not conducted a background check on the residents, who could be illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The buildings built by the VMC also do not have any no objection certificates from the Air Force base, which is in close range and does not permit any high-rise building.” These residents – who had the support of many BJP leaders until the party decided to end the embarrassing controversy and direct the VMC to conduct the suspended draw allotting homes to the families – have urged the Collector to suspend all upcoming JNNURM projects in the area. Late on Sunday evening, VHP leaders also called upon the residents of Sayajipura to “show their support”.
The residents say the matter will take a legal turn in the form of a PIL if the Collector fails to resolve the issue. Anil, a resident who was among the representatives of Sayajipura that met the Collector, said, “We have formed the Hindu Hitrakshak Shanti Samiti and our fight is against the VMC and its decision to allot homes to Muslim families in our area without our consent or without conducting a background check. We have urged the Collector to resolve the issue and cancel the process. If we do not receive any support form the administration, we will go ahead with the PIL in the court. When the state government has formed a Disturbed Areas Act in many places in Vadodara, why do they want to create another potential base for communal incidents in the peace-loving neighbourhood of Sayajipura. They must settle these residents in Kalyannagar.”
The VMC is yet to hand out allotment letters to the 340 families whose names figured on the list of the draw put out by the department of the civic body’s BSUP and JNNURM housing schemes. Official sources said that the civic body was finding itself in a tight spot with the ongoing agitation by local residents. “We do not want the situation to go out of hand. We are waiting to see if we can resolve this matter before handing out the allotment letters. Once the letters are handed out, the Kalyannagar families will begin to move to Sayajipura and it will result in a law and order problem.”
Collector Avantika Aulakh said the matter was outside the purview of the district collectorate. Aulakh said, “Building homes for the poor in the city is a discretionary function of the VMC and it is outside the purview of the District Collectorate. They have followed their procedures and we cannot intervene in this matter.”
Representatives of the Muslim families of Kalyannagar said they were preparing a list of residents who have been “left out” by the VMC in its draw last week. Shaukat Indori, a representative, said, “We have found about 182 families who are yet to be considered. The list will be given to the VMC. However, following the agitation of the residents there, families of Kalyannagar are very sceptical about moving into the area until the authorities step in and resolve the situation with a peace meeting between two communities.”