Riot-scarred Muslim voters apathetic to Gujarat polls

December 12th, 2007 - 7:37 pm ICT by admin  

By Ravishankar
Naroda-Patia (Gujarat), Dec.12 (ANI): Muslim voters of Naroda-Patia, who witnessed the most gruesome massacre during the 2002 communal riots, are apathetic to the assembly elections in Gujarat.
A sense of despair and uneasy calm prevails in Naroda-Patia on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, which was battered in the worst-ever riots and the citizens see no hope of getting any salve or justice from any political party.
Residents continue to live in deep fear in the run-up to the elections as the rumour mills are agog with talk of communal forces unleashing another wave of terror to win the elections.
“Our young daughters and daughters-in-law are very scared and they ask me to shift them from here as they are worried about their safety. This is a question of our dignity and how long it will be at stake. Is it not the duty of the government to help us?” said Julekha Bano, a resident of Naroda-Patia.
The Muslim voters will definitely not cast the ballot for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since Narendra Modi, the then state chief is alleged to have actively encouraged the riots, but whether they will vote for the Congress on December 16 the crucial polling day is a matter they are yet undecided on.
Residents lament about civic woes, a long pending demand the BJP had promised to ameliorate, but the locality dominated by minorities is still reeling in sub-human conditions.
“Anybody may come to power, Narendra Modi or any other leader, but we are hardly concerned with that. What citizens want from the government is just food and safety, what else”? asked Husaina Aapa.
Most victims are still to receive compensation promised by the government for the loss they suffered in the riots.
These riot-scarred residents doubt whether the activists of Hindu radical outfits Vishwa Hindu Parishad or Bajrang Dal would allow them to participate in the voting since the votes in any case would not be in favour of the BJP.
They are equally unsure whether the Congress will provide them the necessary security to enable them to vote. They have no confidence in the state police either.
The electoral battle in Gujarat is mainly between the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Congress party.
The election in the states is important for both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress as the federal elections are just less than two years away. The BJP on December 10, named Lal Krishna Advani as its prime ministerial candidate keeping in view the national elections in 2009.
The elections for the first phase of elections were held on December 11. The second phase of voting takes place on Dec. 16 and the results are expected on December 23. (ANI)

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