Ahmedabad: Panic gripped Muslim families in some pockets of a Hindu-dominated area here after they found red “cross marks” on the main gates of their societies on Sunday morning.
The alarmed residents of Delight Flats, also targeted during the 2002 riots, have sought police protection.
The residents wrote a letter to the Election Commission and the city’s police commissioner, urging them to inquire the matter.
In the letter, the residents said that they feared it (putting the marks) was done with a “clear purpose to identify Muslims living in that area” ahead of the assembly polls in Gujarat next month.
Such marks have left many Muslims in shock and fear as it seems to be done by someone to identify Muslim-living area,” states the letter.
“Gujarat elections have already been declared and such activities marking buildings of particular community is causing insecurity among dwellers and increases chances of communal clash,” the letter states.
The mysterious ‘X’ mark in red colour were also spotted on the main gates of Aman Colony,Tagore Flats Nasheman Apartment and Ashiyana Apartment, and outside the Takshshila colony.
However, the residents who wrote the letter to EC, alleged that such markings might be an attempt to disturb the peace in the area ahead of the polls.
“Such activities of marking buildings of a particular community and highlighting their religious identity before the election is causing insecurity among the dwellers and increases chances of communal clash which might destroy peace of Paldi…take immediate action and investigate the reasons,” reads the letter penned by members of the society.
Also, a banner surfaced in the locality with the message. On a saffrom background, the poster said ‘Bachawo, Bachawo(Save, Save), followed by this dire call: “Paldi Ne JuhapuraThatuAtkavo” (Prevent Paldi from turning into Juhapura).”
Noteworthy, Juhapura is the mammoth Muslim ghetto had a population of about 1,00,000 before the 2002 Gujarat genocidal pogrom.
After the pogrom, the population has grown to close to 6,00,000.
According to Uvesh Sareshwala, who lives in the building, there was fear and panic among Muslims when they found red marks on the main gates.
“For now, the issue is resolved, as some policemen are also deployed in our area after the incident. Our only contention was that the AMC should have informed us in advance that they are doing it,” he said.
“Due to such misunderstandings, miscreants get a chance to disturb the peace. Our only concern was our security, nothing else,” Sareshwala added.
According to PTI, the city police swung into action and an investigation revealed that the marks were painted for the implementation of the waste collection project by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) staff.
However, an AMC official that DNA talked to rubbish the claims. “To begin with, whenever AMC wants to identify a society for any particular reason, it puts up a sticker. Moreover, the practice of putting marks on society gates was long discarded. It seems to be the handiwork of someone keen to create mischief,” said the official.