Kozhikode, Dec 16: Journalist duo from the 'god's own country'- Kerala has uncovered the veil of alleged despicable face of a prominent political party of the state, Muslim League (ML).
An independent scribe and his wife who set off a journalism voyage to Ahmedabad to pen down post-Gujarat riots developmental stories accidentally encountered a story in which duo found a fraud allegedly emanated from Muslim League.
It could be recalled that after 2002 riots, the ML party has raised funds to support the Muslims affected by riot or the victims by providing permanent shelter. The houses were erected in 2004 in Ahmadabad.
In a quest to study the progress of Muslim chunk affected by the riot, Saheed Roomy and his wife Faseela Mehar took to Gujarat only to find the deteriorating social condition of the people. Mehar works as sub-editor in a private Malayalam news channel.
The story on this, authored by Saheed and Mehar was first published on Monday, Dec 14 in a weekly publication- Madhyamam. The story has rocked the state and many news channels in Kerala have been debating after it was broke.
Saheed Roomy in a telephonic conversation with OneIndia narrates preposterous houses built by the ML to keep up the promise made in 2002.
Shelter near garbage dumping yard:
Roomy says communal mayhem victims had been rehabilitated at Citizen Nagar, one of the most hazardous space in the state of Gujarat. The ML has built as many as 40 shoddy houses in Citizen Nagar located at Maulana Azad Nagar Area, Danilimda in Ahmedabad district.
The pile of garbage invites the visitor making the visitor feel squeamish. The 40 houses are built near the area endangering the lives of people. A nameplate in the area says the houses are donated by the Kerala State Muslim League Relief Committee.
"The treacherous condition of living is heart throbbing and is unkind on the part of ML to establish houses in the area stipulated for dumping garbage by the Ahmadabad corporation," Saheed reveled.
Ownership not given to victims:
"We stayed for three days from Nov 14 to Nov 16 trying to unearth reasons behind building poor houses in that place," Roomy said. After houses were readied at 2004, people started to live in the same, however, till date the League has not given the ownership to the occupants.
The dwellers claim that they were not given the papers pertaining to ownership of the land and if one day anyone conducts eviction, they have no option but to vacate the place to this effect, Saheed said.
Besides, due to massive pollution and water contamination, the residents are suffering from respiratory, heart and kidney related ailments.
The houses were constructed by a builder, Sherif Khan. He runs a company named Nawab Builders. Moreover, Khan is a prominent Congress leader from Ahmadabad.
Roomy and his wife learnt from the claims of residents that ownership of the houses allegedly vest with Khan. "Khan said he won't reply to the queries and allegations of Citizen Nagar, when we contacted him to comment over the issue," Roomy said
The witnesses of Naroda Patiya case stay in congested houses that have asbestos sheets as roofs. Off the 64 witnesses, 4 has succumbed to kidney failure. The area is marred with lack of facilities and it is completely marooned, Roomy further added. The sanitation is worst and there are no good schools near by for the children to study.
The population of the place has increased since 2004 and the residents even cannot modify the houses, as the occupants does not have ownership of the houses. The houses have small rooms and kitchens making the dwellers difficult to live.
"It is disgusting to see fellow human beings cheated by a political party." Roomy laments. A responsible political party from Kerala should not have done this, he rued.
He suspected the party has swindled the fund as the expenses (rough calculation) might not had crossed above Rs 15 lacs. The party also in 2002 did not put out the in the public domain the amount of money collected for proving permanent shelter.
The Muslim League till today has not responded neither to Roomy and nor to any Kerala media after the story was out. The party has maintained steadied silence on the controversy.