Ahmedabad: An MLA of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Surat, Sangita Patil, has demanded imposition of ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ in her constituency of Limbayat to prevent Muslims from acquiring residential properties of Hindus.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”. According to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months. One such Act passed on September 11, 1958 was applicable to the Naga Hills, then part of Assam. In the following decades it spread, one by one, to the other Seven Sister States in India’s northeast. Another one passed in 1983 and applicable to Punjab and Chandigarh was withdrawn in 1997, roughly 14 years after it came to force. An Act passed in 1990 was applied to Jammu and Kashmir and has been in force since.
According to Patil, she had sent her written request for the imposition of the Act to the district collector after Hindu residents of Limbayat area of Surat city have made several representations about the issue.
‘The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991’, known as the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’, bans sale of property by a member of one religious community to a member of another community, without the prior approval of the district collector.
Defending her move, Patil alleged that Muslims are applying every trick in the book, including threat, to acquire properties in Hindu societies.
“Limbayat was once a Hindu area. But now, many societies, such as Govind Nagar, Bharati Nagar, Madanpura and Bhavna Park, which go by Hindu name, are now dominated by Muslims. If they do not get the house easily, they even threaten Hindus and force them to sell it,” alleged Patil.
“The way Muslims are using various tactics to acquire Hindu properties, I am of the opinion that the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ should be imposed here to stop them from spreading into Hindu areas. I requested the collector to do so after many residents made their representations to me,” she said.
Patil even alleged that Muslims are offering very high price to lure Hindus into selling their houses.
“I demand that the Act should be imposed in the entire Limbayat area. The Act is currently in place in several other parts of Surat city,” she added.
Refuting her claims, local Congress leader Aslam Cyclewala alleged that Patil has invoked such “communal” issue to hide her failure as public representative.
“Since Patil has completely failed to take up the real issues concerning people, she now resorted to such communal politics. If Muslims are really threatening Hindus, then why she never approached police for these many years? Why she invoked the issue when Assembly polls are approaching?” said the Congress leader.