RAMPUR: In order to ‘save’ their houses from demolition, around 80 Valmiki families have declared to convert to Islam in Rampur, according to a media report.

The report claims that a group of five have already started an indefinite hunger strike against the plan of the government to broaden the roads in Topkhana locality which according to the municipal body would be done by clearing the ‘encroachments’.

A police case has been registered against the 86 members of the Valmiki community for raising a protest against the Urban Development Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Azam Khan, following an objection from Samajwadi Party workers.

The issue started on April 6 when the municipal authorities stamped the houses for pulling down at Topkhana locality. It is to be noted that the district unit of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh is also on the same road and the civic body in addition is building a multi-story ‘Gandhi Mall’ in the same area.

“We held the agitation as Valmiki community are living in the locality for 60 years and our houses are in danger. Now, they don’t want us to live near the beautiful mall as our houses are spoiling its beauty,” a leader of Valmiki Basti Bachcho Sangharsh Samiti, named in FIR was quoted in the report.

Believing that there is ‘no option’ now, the affected families have now declared that they would embrace Islam on April 14 on Ambedkar Jayanti, if that helps them to save their houses. The Valmiki Basti Bachcho Sangharsh Samiti leader further said, “If that is the guarantee when our houses can be saved we will become Muslims. There is no other option. The roads in Muslim locality is quite narrow but our road is being widened.”

The Valmiki organization has even issued a press statement into the matter.

Taking the slogans against Azam Khan too seriously, the police authorities have transferred seven policemen of the local police station to reserve police lines.

Azhar Ahmed Khan, Chairman Nagar Palika Rampur, speaking about the matter alleged, “We are only eliminating the encroachment from government land. We will take legal action as this is just pressure strategy. One becomes Muslim from heart. This is an RSS ploy.”


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