Muslims forced to give up homes for security of temple in India

Muslims in India claim they are being forced to leave their homes and the government made them sign a consent letter. However, the state government has denied such allegations.

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Muslims in the surroundings of Gorakhnath Temple in Uttar Pradesh, India say they are forced to give up homes in the name of the security of the temple. The dozens of victim families claim they were forced to sign on the ‘consent letter’ in which they have allegedly shown their willingness to give their homes and properties to the government for the security of the temple.

The news has caused an uproar since according to the media reports, the state government wants to take the properties within the vicinity of the temple in Gorakhpur to provide security cover to the temple through the deployment of the police forces.

Affected families say they were forced to sign the consent form and were not given complete information. Meanwhile, the state government has denied such allegations and added the plans are at a nascent stage and no one is being coerced.

All the families have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The affected families say official members approached them and took the measurement of their properties. They added that the officials informed them about the acquisition of their properties but they would only provide the information once they receive the detailed information in writing.

The matter was first highlighted when the copy of the consent letter began circulating on social media on May 28th  claims The Wire.

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The letter stated, “In line with the government’s decision for the deployment of the police force in the Gorakhnath temple area for providing security to the Gorakhnath temple, we, the undersigned residents of village Old Gorakhpur Tappa, Qasba Pargana Haveli, Tehsil Sadar Janpad, Gorakhpur, situated on the south-east corner of the Gorakhnath temple, have agreed to transfer our land and houses to the government. We have no objection whatsoever. Regarding our consent in the matter, please find our signatures below.”

One of the affected members said that he has seen the signatures of the members of other families. Victims say officials visiting them promised them they will be compensated but they do not need compensation. They just want the state government to let them live in their ancestral homes.

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Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is the chief priest of Gorakhnath Temple. He is described as the hardline leader from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the past, UP has reported several incidents of communal tensions but the residents of Gorakhpur claim they have been living peacefully with the Hindu community.