Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Communalism Minorities

Were minority community families asked to vacate homes near Gorakhnath temple?

Gov’t acquiring land for “security purposes”; DM insists ‘consent letter’ to vacate was not signed under duress, but some families say otherwise

Sabrangindia 07 Jun 2021

Image Courtesy:siasat.com

As many as 11 families, all hailing from the minority community, have been allegedly asked to vacate their homes located near the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, reveals a shocking report in The Quint. The families were all made to sign “consent letters” saying that they would willingly vacate their homes to enable better security arrangements around the temple.

Land surrounding the temple, of which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath is incidentally the chief Mahant (priest), is being acquired by the UP government purportedly to build a police booth. The Gorakhnath temple complex is spread over 52 acres. According to The Wire, there is a police booth inside the temple complex and a police station is located near the temple’s main gate. It I salso noteworthy that surrounding areas such as Naurangabad, Zahidabad, Purana Gorakhpur, Humayunpur and Rasulpur are predominantly inhabited by Muslim families, most of whom are traditionally engaged in weaving and allied activities.

According to The Quint, the ‘consent letter’ says, “In the surrounding of Gorakhpur temple, keeping in mind the security, the administration has decided that in the southeast side of the temple in Tappa town in the Sadar area, the people named below will give our land to the state government and our signature stands as proof for the same. We have no objections to giving our land away. Please find enclosed signature below.”

However, some families told media persons that they had been pressured into signing the letter.

71-year-old Javed Akhter, a retired engineer with the Indian Railways, told Al Jazeera that Gorakhpur district officials including policemen visited his house and took measurements. They handed him a letter signed by a few other families and asked him to sign as well. “The officials told us that if we do not sign the letter, they have other ways to get our signatures as well. We were pressured,” he said.  

Meanwhile, 70-year-old Musheer Ahmed told The Quint that only Muslim families were asked to sign the letter as there were no homes owned by Hindu families in the area. “No Hindu family has a house here. Only 11 Muslim families had to sign it. We have been living here for over 125 years,” he said lamenting he had nowhere else to go.  

However, Gorakhpur District Magistrate (DM) Vijyendra Pandian rubbished claims that people were made to sign the letter under duress. He told The Quint, “Where are we putting pressure on them? This entire process is in a nascent stage. These men have signed on their own and initiated these proceedings.” He further said, “They are getting a good quantum of money, running into crores of rupees, which is why they signed and they are also getting an alternative piece of land. The entire process is in a preliminary stage so the quantum of money was only informally communicated as it is not supposed to be disclosed in the media. Now they are playing politics.”

Meanwhile, Shahnawaz Alam, president of the state minority cell released an audio recording of the DM allegedly accusing Masihuzzama Ansari, a staff correspondent with India Tomorrow of falsely adding a communal hue to the story, “Please leave your religion behind when you report. Why are you spreading false information?” He then goes on to say that people spreading false information will be charged under the National Security Act.

Related:

Yet another demand for ASI survey in UP, plea to look for idols buried under mosque
Gyanvapi case: Pleas before Allahabad HC challenging ASI survey order
Krishna Janmabhoomi: Plea in Allahabad HC to remove Idgah Mosque

Were minority community families asked to vacate homes near Gorakhnath temple?

Gov’t acquiring land for “security purposes”; DM insists ‘consent letter’ to vacate was not signed under duress, but some families say otherwise

Image Courtesy:siasat.com

As many as 11 families, all hailing from the minority community, have been allegedly asked to vacate their homes located near the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, reveals a shocking report in The Quint. The families were all made to sign “consent letters” saying that they would willingly vacate their homes to enable better security arrangements around the temple.

Land surrounding the temple, of which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath is incidentally the chief Mahant (priest), is being acquired by the UP government purportedly to build a police booth. The Gorakhnath temple complex is spread over 52 acres. According to The Wire, there is a police booth inside the temple complex and a police station is located near the temple’s main gate. It I salso noteworthy that surrounding areas such as Naurangabad, Zahidabad, Purana Gorakhpur, Humayunpur and Rasulpur are predominantly inhabited by Muslim families, most of whom are traditionally engaged in weaving and allied activities.

According to The Quint, the ‘consent letter’ says, “In the surrounding of Gorakhpur temple, keeping in mind the security, the administration has decided that in the southeast side of the temple in Tappa town in the Sadar area, the people named below will give our land to the state government and our signature stands as proof for the same. We have no objections to giving our land away. Please find enclosed signature below.”

However, some families told media persons that they had been pressured into signing the letter.

71-year-old Javed Akhter, a retired engineer with the Indian Railways, told Al Jazeera that Gorakhpur district officials including policemen visited his house and took measurements. They handed him a letter signed by a few other families and asked him to sign as well. “The officials told us that if we do not sign the letter, they have other ways to get our signatures as well. We were pressured,” he said.  

Meanwhile, 70-year-old Musheer Ahmed told The Quint that only Muslim families were asked to sign the letter as there were no homes owned by Hindu families in the area. “No Hindu family has a house here. Only 11 Muslim families had to sign it. We have been living here for over 125 years,” he said lamenting he had nowhere else to go.  

However, Gorakhpur District Magistrate (DM) Vijyendra Pandian rubbished claims that people were made to sign the letter under duress. He told The Quint, “Where are we putting pressure on them? This entire process is in a nascent stage. These men have signed on their own and initiated these proceedings.” He further said, “They are getting a good quantum of money, running into crores of rupees, which is why they signed and they are also getting an alternative piece of land. The entire process is in a preliminary stage so the quantum of money was only informally communicated as it is not supposed to be disclosed in the media. Now they are playing politics.”

Meanwhile, Shahnawaz Alam, president of the state minority cell released an audio recording of the DM allegedly accusing Masihuzzama Ansari, a staff correspondent with India Tomorrow of falsely adding a communal hue to the story, “Please leave your religion behind when you report. Why are you spreading false information?” He then goes on to say that people spreading false information will be charged under the National Security Act.

Related:

Yet another demand for ASI survey in UP, plea to look for idols buried under mosque
Gyanvapi case: Pleas before Allahabad HC challenging ASI survey order
Krishna Janmabhoomi: Plea in Allahabad HC to remove Idgah Mosque

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
hashimpura

Hashimpura Massacre

The Lemmings of Hashimpura

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
hashimpura

Hashimpura Massacre

The Lemmings of Hashimpura

Archives