With the gram panchayat objecting to “his religion”, a construction contractor from Maharashtra’s Pune district is unable to obtain a registration for a structure he had constructed for his new house.
Kasim Mulla, a 73-year-old from Ambegaon in Katraj, had purchased a 4,000-square-foot plot 50 km away in Kambre Nama village of Mawal Taluka 10 years ago. He initially constructed a 10 by 10 feet structure in April, and applied for its registration in June.
“We handed over the documents to the gram sewak. He told us that a panchayat meeting will happen on June 30 and the registration will be done,” said Javed, Kasim’s 31-year-old son.
However, the application for a registration was dismissed. The application is required not just for tax purposes, but also to get basic amenities such as power, water, etc. “Registration cannot be done because the concerned person is from the religion of Islam,” Kambre Nama sarpanch Vaishali Gaikwad and deputy sarpanch Somnath Gaikwad wrote on the front page of the application.
Asked about the decision, Somnath Gaikwad told Newslaundry that the “village” does not want “any Muslim”. “We never had any Muslim in our village nor do we want one. We didn’t approve the registration because we don’t want any kind of dispute..it’s the village’s collective decision and we have passed a resolution that we don’t want any Muslim in our village...we will not let them get panchayat services...villagers had approached me.”
“I will tell them that if they sell the plot and move to another place, we, on behalf of the gram panchayat, will honour them. But if they are not going to listen, then they will be responsible for any future dispute with villagers.”
Javed Mulla said “it’s not right to discriminate in the name of religion”. “We had constructed a small structure for residential purposes. We also had plans toset up a small shop in the future for business. We too are citizens of this country and the Constitution has given us the right to go and live anywhere.”
Asked about the incident, Pune Rural SP Ankit Goyal said the police “are not aware of this”. “We can only take cognizance if somebody files a complaint in this matter. We will write to the gram panchayat about it in case something of this sort has happened. This matter comes under the purview of zilla parishad. They are the appropriate authority to look into it. We can take action only if any complaint gets filed.”
Zilla parishad members could not be reached for comment.
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