Displaced and denied the right to fish, Muslim fishermen in Gujarat now prevented from voting

Gujarat’s coast has seen thousands of structures demolished in government drives, many people allege Muslims were particularly targeted. In light of this, now over 500 such fishermen have now been denied the right to vote.
Image: The Wire

After news came of Muslim voters being denied the right to vote in Nagpur, and Mathura, Gujarat too seems to be in the news for the same reason. As per a report by Maktoob Media, over 500 Muslim fishermen were denied the right to vote.

These are also the very same fishermen whose homes have been consistently demolished for the past two years. Since October 2022, the government has been destroying thousands of structures along Gujarat’s coast, many of which belong to Muslims. The government has boasted about these demolitions claiming they are part of the governments’ plan to curb ‘mazaar jihad’. Thousands of Muslim homes have been demolished in these drives. The Gujarat government has initiated over the years scores of demolition drives in parts of the Saurashtra region’s coastal area, including Porbandar, Bet Dwarka, the island located off Okha coast in Devbhumi Dwarka, Jakhau, according to India Tomorrow.

According to India Tomorrow, Mujahid Nafis, of the Minority Community Coordination Committee has stated that the community of Muslims along the coast has been highly troubled for over 7 years with such demolitions, “Among these, around 100 Muslim fishermen families in Gosabara, a place near Porbandar, whose houses have also been demolished, since past 5-6 years have been targeted specifically to wipe them out of business by the rival majority community fishermen, politically endorsed by right-wing outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.”

He also stated these fishermen have been denied the rights to fish on the coast despite having fishing permits. This, he says, happens due to complaints by local right-wing outfits and Hindu fishermen association. Many of these fishermen have been displaced and reportedly have to live on the streets with their families now.

In light of these developments, now approximately 575 Muslim fishermen have found themselves unable to vote in the Lok Sabha elections as their names were removed from the voter list. Their homes in Gandhvi village of Kalyanpur taluka had been razed by the government to make way for port expansion, displacing the residents.

The people, as per Maktoob Media, had been voters in Dwarka assembly constituency number 301 for many years and had participated in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, now suddenly, their names were omitted from this year’s voter list without being transferred elsewhere within Gujarat.

Sabrang India had covered a Scroll report earlier that stated how Mathura had also witnessed several Muslim families who had witnessed absence of their names on the voter lists.



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