Surat police on Friday afternoon took down banners from the gate of a residential society here, which restricted the entry of, or sale or renting out of a house to non-Gujaratis. The incident comes days after the state witnessed a spate of attacks against migrant workers from the Hindi-speaking belt, following the arrest of a migrant labourer from Bihar in connection with the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district.
President of Maruti Villa residential society in the area on Thursday put up banners at the entrance of the society stating that “only Gujarati families are permitted to purchase or rent houses in this residential society. Only Gujarati people are permitted to enter the society.”
While many Gujaratis reside in the area, it is dominated by migrant labourers — hailing from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha — working in the textile factories in Pandesara, Udhna and Sachin.
According to sources, there are 120 row houses in the society and only 50 per cent of them are occupied. Majority of the residents are Gujarati, with one Maharashtrian and Rajasthani family each.
“We have put up the banners as during Ganesh festival, the residents in our society had conflicts with one of the non-Gujarati families, who also live here. We don’t want any person who creates nuisance to live in the society. So we have put up the posters. Any person who rents a house here or purchases one has to meet the president or the vice-president. If a family is Gujarati, we can manage. But if it is outsider it becomes troublesome. A Maharashtrian and a Rajasthani family are residing her but they have never created any problems,” Kapadia said.
According to sources, the police learnt about the incident on Friday afternoon. Upon inquiry, it was found that the society president had put up the banners after consultation with some residents of the society. However, following police instructions, the residents took the banners down.
Inspector V M Makwana said, “We have removed the banner. We have called the society president Manoj Kapadia and will record his statement to find out the reasons for such a step. Only after that we will decide on the future course of action.”