Suffering in silence: UP govt asks 44 Muslim families to vacate houses or face consequences

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Masihuzzama Ansari

New Delhi/Kushinagar | Uttar Pradesh government has asked 44 Muslim families to vacate their houses in Nutan Hardo village of Padrauna tehsil in Kushinagar district.

The administration has served them eviction notices saying the houses have been built on ‘encroached lands’.

Local residents allege that Lekhpal has also vandalized some houses to force the inmates to leave the village.

Mohammad Sabir Ali Siddiqui, whose grocery shop was vandalized, told India Tomorrow:  “I had gone for some work. When I returned, I found my shop ransacked. The wall had been pulled down and the goods looted. I was told that Lekhpal and his men ransacked the shop and looted the goods.”

Lekhpal has also vandalized Asaf Ali’s house. “I have also received a notice to vacate the house, Lekhpal vandalized my house as well. We have been living on this land for many generations. My grandfather and great-grandfather also lived here. Suddenly they issued a notice asking me to vacate the house,” he said.

Asaf Ali said they earn their livelihood by working as laborers. “If our house is demolished, where will we go in this cold?” he asked.

The house of Afsari Khatun has also been ransacked. Afsari Khatoon told India Tomorrow that Lekhpal and some people demolished the house.

According to the information received by India Tomorrow, so far 47 families have been served notices, out of which 44 are Muslims. All the families who have been given notice claim that they have been living on that land for 50-100 years.

 “In compliance with the order passed by the court, all the encroachers are informed to shift the material kept inside their respective houses with immediate effect. In case of non-compliance, you will be responsible for the follow-up action. By order: Tehsildar – Padrauna,” the notice said

Villagers are looking at this notice from a Hindu-Muslim point of view. Some families in the village said there are about 500 such houses in other hamlets as well. However, notices have  been served only to Muslim houses.

Most of the families are poor and earn their living by working as agriculture laborers. Now they are worried about where they will go in this bone-chilling cold.

Many families have also received notices where people above 90 years have been living since their childhood.

Talking to India Tomorrow, ADM Padrauna Mahatma Singh said, “The houses on the reserve land have been served notices. Those houses have been asked to vacate. All the houses built on government land will be removed.”

Asked that these families have been living here for 100-150 years, the ADM said that there was no issue earlier, but now some people of the village have filed a complaint and therefore action is being taken as per the procedure.

A villager said the notice period has ended and now money is being demanded for not demolishing the houses.

Kamaruddin, who works as a laborer,  has also received a notice to vacate his house. He told India Tomorrow that they have been living here for more than 50 years. “My grandfather was also born here and lived in a house. I have been given the notice to vacate the house in 6 days,” he said.

Fifty-year-old Muinuddin has also been given the notice to vacate his house. He  said his father, grandfather, and  great-grandfather were born and brought up here.

Another local resident Rafiullah said he has also received the notice asking to vacate the house.

Abdul Qayyum, 52, has also received a notice. He has been living in his house for the last 50 years.

Ali Jaan told India Tomorrow that his grandfather and great-grandfather have been living on this land and no such issue ever came to the fore. “We are facing a huge crisis. Where will we go? We have no roof over our heads now,” he said.

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