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The Vadodara model: unjust treatment of minorities

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The Vadodara model: unjust treatment of minorities
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Under the 'Chief Minister's Housing Scheme,' a woman applies for a flat she is entitled to, and, like many others, she is granted one. However, due to the opposition from some people, she is unable to reside there. After six years of delay, as she prepares to move in, some other residents of the apartment complex publicly protest against her arrival, requesting the authorities to prevent it. Their reason was the woman was a Muslim. They argue that the law prohibits it, citing a regulation in that disallows property transfers in disturbed areas without the collector's permission. According to them, this transfer is illegal and should not be permitted; the given approval must be revoked.

The Chief Minister's Housing Scheme is intended for low-income individuals. In the complex of 460 flats, she is the only Muslim woman granted a flat. Due to opposition, she and her son were temporarily staying elsewhere. Despite the disturbed area law being in place, there are no social issues in the area where the apartment complex is located. The fact that over 30 people publicly opposed granting a helpless woman her entitled residence speaks volumes about the state of the country. It highlights how the law itself can be used as a tool for religious discrimination.


Originally, the law was introduced in 1985 with good intentions to prevent land mafia from exploiting people’s fear and forcibly acquiring properties amid communal unrest in Gujarat. However, subsequent amendments by the Narendra Modi government in 2009 and 2019 turned it into an instrument of discrimination. The amendments allowed the collector to prevent property transfers if there was fear of disturbance or if the demographic balance was thought to be affected. The law is applicable only in areas notified as disturbed. Periodically, the Modi government expanded its scope by declaring more areas as disturbed and kept extending the law’s validity, with the 11th extension due on June 30.


Creating a law and implementing it with bias as per the government's interest is the ongoing trend. A law meant for protection is now used for racial segregation and neglect. The unnecessary application of this law in peaceful areas is to isolate minorities. Instead of fostering unity in a diverse country, divisiveness is being encouraged. America once had the 'Jim Crow laws' to segregate blacks. In the 1960s, they were repealed, and special projects (like the Fair Housing Act) were implemented to create multi-ethnic residential areas. We are regressing now.

The main problem is the injustice maintained by a faction of political leaders and administrative systems against minorities. Widespread hate propaganda has tainted public hearts. The community must strive to correct this and resist injustice. During election times, secular-social justice movements need to be more active. After all, elections are proof that the medicine of friendship works in hearts poisoned by hate. To combat communalism, legal battles against unjust laws and initiatives by citizen movements are essential. In 2020, the Gujarat High Court overturned the collector's block on a property transfer in Vadodara. However, in the absence of legal awareness or financial capability to approach the court, the poor often succumb to injustice. This indicates a need for special mechanisms to assist victims. Similar discrimination exists outside Gujarat too. This is an urgent issue requiring intervention from the public, judiciary, and civil rights movements.

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TAGS:minoritiesEditorialVadodara
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