May 25, 2018

India: Ghettoisation and segregation in Gujarat

The segregated city

Ghettoisation and Disturbed Areas Act are dividing urban spaces in Gujarat, pushing Muslims to the edge.

Written by Christophe Jaffrelot , Sharik Laliwala | Updated: May 26, 2018

In the current debates on the place of Muslims in Indian society, a key dimension has remained unexplored: What is their physical place? Where do they live? This question has become topical given the accusation of “land jihad” that has emerged in different parts of the country and the attempts to drive Muslims out of mixed areas or to prevent them from settling down in Hindu majority localities. The issue has been particularly sensitive in Gujarat. Recent tensions in Paldi, an affluent locality of Hindus and Jains with some Muslim-dominated parts in Ahmedabad, shed fresh light on the faultlines of urban Gujarat. The issue involves a land re-development scheme owned mostly by Muslims which was protested against by the local Hindu and Jain residents. Finally, the collectorate office has withdrawn permission to the scheme.
Such accusations of “land jihad” are a continuation of the campaign in the run-up to the 2017 elections when posters urging the need to “stop Paldi from becoming another Juhapura” had come up. Juhapura is a Muslim ghetto on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. At that time, a GPS-tracking system of garbage collection by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation marking societies in Paldi with a cross had led to panic among Muslims, reminding them of 2002.

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