Wednesday, December 26, 2012

‘Our most fundamental right has been snatched by govt’

Say Muslims of Naroda Patia whose names were missing from the voters’ list
Residents whose names were missing from the voters' list
Roxy Gagdekar l Ahmedabad 

“I don’t have money, property, assets, job or even peace – I only have my voting right. But even that has been taken away by the government. They have not included my name in the voting list, but my Khwaja Garib Navaz is with Congress and I know it will win.” These are the words of Memunabanu Saiyed, a voter from Jikar Hasam Ni Chali in Naroda-Patia area, which falls in the Thakkarnagar constituency. She is among the scores of residents whose names were missing from the electoral list on Monday. 

According to residents, over 40% of voters in the area faced a similar situation. 

The residents openly accuse chief minister Narendra Modi, ruling BJP and the Election Commission of removing their names from the list so that they do not cast their votes in favour of the Congress. 

Most Muslims in the area were seen crying and screaming when they found their names missing from the voters’ list. Many women cursed the government for depriving them of their right to vote. The frustration was writ large on Saiyed’s face. “After this, don’t blame Muslims for being involved in criminal activities,” she warned. “What will Muslims do if even their most fundamental right is snatched by the government,” Saiyed asked. 

According to Mohammad Safiq, a community leader, this is the only locality in the entire area where so many names are missing from the electoral list. “All the electors have been living here for last 50 years or ever since they were born. No one has migrated from here, then how can their names go missing,” he said, adding that it is not possible without active political intervention.

Missing names was not the only issue here. Many cards carried incorrect names, wrong photographs or serial numbers that did not match with the voters’ list. 

Most of the residents of Naroda Patia were busy searching for their names in the list throughout the day.