Juhapura in 3D
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Community organisations, often wielding deeply conservative social agendas along with charity, have stepped into the gaping spaces left by the receding of formal politics and the state. In Juhapura, the Islamic Relief Committee was set up after 2002, and the Baitulmal and Jamaat-e-Islami acquired a new clout after the riots. Roads and gutters have been laid after collecting donations from residents.
The lack of development and jobs for Muslim youth, in a time of rising prices, is a common worry. But the overriding concern expressed across age groups, by rich as well as poor, in these areas of Ahmedabad continues to be "safety and security".
For Rahil Kazi, 21, who lives in the more prosperous bungalow zone of Juhapura, safety includes the government jobs that elude Muslims. For many others, the term has more basic connotations.
"If I get late coming back from work", says Irfan, 29, who lives in Daryapur and works in a BPO on the SG highway, "I feel nervous. If a Hindu is slapped somewhere in the city, for a few days we hesitate to step outside Daryapur", he says.
And yet, ordinary Hindus have been told they need protection from Muslims, they say. "They have been told that if the BJP loses, their women will not be safe. Are we all terrorists and criminals?" The question comes, incongruously, from the grey-haired Madina M. Mansuri, a grandmother and resident of Daryapur. Madina has seen many a toofan come and go, "but after 2002, the poison stayed", she says. "Our children are in jails, even after the courts have ordered their release", says Mohammad Ayub, a government servant, "We want our political representative to speak for them, even if he doesn't lay the
gutters", he says.
Narendra Modi and his 3D image may stay away from Muslim Daryapur and Juhapura, but he looms at the centre of every discussion as the election picks up pace.
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