In Pictures: Ahmedabad's segregated Muslims - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Ahmedabad's segregated Muslims

Gujarat city has seen infrastructure boom but community has been pushed to ghettos with lack of basic amenities.

Mahesh Langa, Divyaraj Gadhavi |

The economic model of western Indian state of Gujarat has been one of the biggest talking points during the campaigning for the parliamentary elections.

The state has recorded impressive growth under Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, who has promised to emulate the state's "success" at national level.

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However, academics and members of civil society are divided on what is being touted as "Gujarat model" of development, which critics say has left out the state's Muslims.

Under Modi's watch, Ahmedabad, has seen massive infrastructure growth, and is one of the largest cities in the country, with a population of nearly six million.

Ahmedabad has emerged as one of the most "preferred city to live in" with uninterrupted power supply, sprawling shopping malls, multiplexes, flyovers, bus rapid transit system (BRTS) and high rise apartments, but the city's infrastructure boom has hardly touched the Muslim community, who are forced to live in slum-like conditions.

Modi - who has been heading the state government for more than a decade - has also been criticised for his role in the deadly 2002 riots and the subsequent treatment of riot-affected Muslims.

The 600-year-old city has fragmented into newly developed Hindu areas with all the amenities like piped water and cooking gas, high rise apartments for gated communities, private schools, while Muslims have been consigned to ghettos with no street roads, sewerage, or clean water.

Each year about 2,000 children are denied school admission in Juhapura, the largest Muslim ghetto in the city, because of the lack of public or private schools.

Areas such as Juhapura with approximate population of 400,000, Millatnagar and Citizen Nagar are marked with absolute absence of any civic amenities such as drinking water, sewerage, street roads and schools.

Citizen Nagar was set up as a temporary camp to give shelter to people, who fled their homes during the 2002 riots, but it has burgeoned into a big slum and government apathy is palpable. Many here say they have tried to find housing elsewhere in the city, but their Muslim names and lack of funds prevent them from moving out.

Mahesh Langa is the special correspodent for the English Daily, the Hindustan Times.

Photos by Divyaraj Gadhavi.


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