'Gujarat Muslims forced to change names, undergo purification, to live in Hindu localities'
Bhavnagar, Gujarat: Praveen Togadia kicked off a hornet's nest when he commented that Muslims living in Hindu-dominated locality should be evicted. His comments came as a rude shock and left the political parties seeking cover. Even,BJP's prime ministerial candidateNarendra Modiwas forced to issue a statement and disapproved of "petty statements by those claiming to be BJP's well-wishers".
It appears that incident of discrimination against members of Muslim community are not restricted to Praveen Togadia's comment. A report published in prominent British newspaper, Independent, cites an example of Gujarat's Bhavnagar, where members of the minority community were discriminated upon by member of majority community.
Ali Asgar Zaveri, a scrap dealer, has been unable to acquire his property- in a Hindu dominated area- because of his religion.
"For the last few months, residents of the Krishna Nagar neighbourhood have been sitting outside Mr Zaveri’s property, chanting Hindu prayers and banging metal plates in protest," the article quoted.
Though Togadia was reprimanded by the Election Commission and the top brass of his party, his statement seems to have worked its magic.
The Krishna Nagar neighbourhood, where Zaveri brought his home, has been particularly tense. The people are reluctant to let new Muslim dwellers in their locality, the article quoted.
One Muslim dweller in Krishna Nagar was forced to change his name and underwent a 'purification ritual' in order to remain in the neighbourhood after buying their house.
However, some people revealed that eating habits as one of the reasons behind not alloting homes to Muslims in Hindu dominated areas.
"They claimed most Hindus in Gujarat were strictly vegetarian and the residents would be “upset” by the eating habits of non-vegetarian neighbours. Several said they feared the arrival of Mr Zaveri would lead to more Muslims and that the neighbourhood would stop being Hindu. One man claimed Muslims were not clean," the report added