Hyderabad, Dec. 17: Social boycott of Muslims in a Velpur mandal headquarters in Telangana’s Nizamabad district by the Village Development Committee (VDC) has finally come to an end with sustained efforts by Muslim leaders from various organisations.
For the last few years, the VDC had been imposing a social boycott of Muslims for a few days every year to pressurise them and occupy a part of the land of a graveyard.
On December 15, Muslims resisted the attempts of VDC to encroach the graveyard. The police imposed prohibitory orders and foiled the attempt to encroach the land. Following this, the VDC imposed another boycott of Muslims.
A group of Muslims had lodged a complaint with the police against 17 members of VDC. Muslim leaders from various political parties and non-political organisations had also called on Nizamabad district Collector Rajiv Gandhi Hanumantu, Police Commissioner Kamleshwar and other officials.
The Collector had given an assurance that he will ensure that the boycott is lifted. The Muslim leaders had told the collector that if the social boycott of Muslims is not lifted, they will visit the village.
According to Muslim leaders, self-styled VDC had been raising the issue every year to harass Muslims and encroach the graveyard.
They mentioned that the graveyard is listed in Wakf Gazette and the records of the revenue department. There was no fencing around the graveyard and there was also a pathway in the middle. The pathway was later widened to divide the graveyard into two parts. The VDC had been trying to encroach a part and turn it into an open playground.
The officials were told that the graveyard committee has all the documents. The record is also available in the revenue department to prove that the land was allotted for graveyard.
The differences between Muslims and the VDC arose in 2019 with a dispute over construction of a compound wall around a graveyard.
The minorities welfare department had released Rs 8 lakh for erecting a boundary wall to protect the Wakf property. Then minister for roads and buildings, Mr Vemula Prashant Reddy had also laid down the foundation stone, but the works were stopped due to objections raised by the VDC.
An Idgah, graveyard, Ashoorkhana and a mosque are situated adjacent to each other in Velpur mandal headquarters and a land measuring 4 acres and 12 guntas is notified for Wakf.
Local Muslims alleged that the VDC had demolished the graves to create a trail and when they resisted, the VDC decided to boycott the Muslims and asked the locals not to purchase goods from the Muslim traders.
Muslim groups stated that the repeated calls for social boycott created a sense of insecurity among Muslims.
There are 150 Muslim families in the village and several Muslims in the past had complained to the police about social boycott.
The Wakf Board had also taken a serious note of social boycott of Muslims. Though the Board had sent a team of officials to resolve the issue with the help of the district Collector, the issue remained unresolved.
Bahujana Left Front (BLF) leader D Venkat had also called on the district Collector last year to bring to his notice that due to the VDC’s decision, the villagers are unable to purchase anything from those shops owned by Muslims in the village.
On the VDC’s call, the villagers had stopped utilising services, including purchase of water, from shops owned by Muslims. The villagers also boycotted services of auto rickshaws driven by Muslims. About 20 Muslim auto drivers ply their services in the village.
Venkat had demanded that the authorities should take stern action against VDC members by arresting them under the Preventive Detention (PD) Act. He alleged that perceived upper caste communities are carrying out pre-planned attacks on SC, BC minorities to suppress their rights.