A temporary structure built to house goats for sale ahead of Bakr-Id has become a flashpoint between the Congress and BJP with the latter demanding removal of the structure. Local Congress corporators have opposed the BJP’s demand, saying it would be removed after Eid.
For the last six years, goat traders from Maharashtra and Rajasthan have been coming to Surat to sell goats on the eve of Bakr-Id. The traders halt at Omnagar society, where over 400 Muslim families live. The society’s residents allow the traders to tie their goats and sell it to people in the common open plot of society. However, near the common open plot there is another plot owned by Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) which has also been covered to accommodate the goats. To protect the goats from the rain, the traders with permission of the society president Kamruddin Qureshi had built the structure with bamboos and covered with a tin shed.
BJP councillor of Dumbhal area Vijay Chaumal wrote a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the municipal commissioner on Friday, accusing Muslims of having “illegally encroached upon the SMC’s plot”. Congress councillor of the neighbouring area Aslam Cyclewala also wrote a letter on Friday to Rupani seeking his intervention. His letter said that “since the last six years the traders of Maharashtra and Rajasthan have been coming to Surat to sell their goats to the people of Surat and the animals are purchased by Muslims of Surat for qurbani (sacrifice). Some BJP leaders are trying to damage the peaceful atmosphere of the city by opposing it”.
Omnagar society president Kamruddin Qureshi said, “With the consent of all the 400 families residing in our society, we have given permission for the traders to tie their goats and sell it here.”
Talking to The Indian Express, Chaumal said, “We got complaints from the people so we made representations and Congress is trying to politicise it.”
Surat Municipal commissioner M. Thennarasan said, “We have come to know about the issue and we have sought details from the organisers. They will come to us in a day or more and then we will decide our steps.”