WHY MUSLIMS ARE FORCED TO LIVE IN MUMBAI’S SLUMS ?

MUMBAI : The Mumbai city is also called as City of Slums as 60 % of the population lives in slum areas . It  is  a very  surprising  fact that a large number of persons belonging to  Muslim community have  been living  usually  in the largest slums of Mumbai .

 

Dharavi , once upon a time ,  was not only the largest slum of Mumbai city  , but it was also considered as the largest slum of Asia .Muslim community was a dominant  religious group of slum dwellers in Dharavi  also .

But development and progress took place in Dharavi .After the eclipse of Dharavi as the largest slum is of the city,  three  new large slum areas developed in the eastern suburbs during last 3 decades.

  • Mankhurd belt .
  • Kurla – Ghatkoper belt .
  • Govandi belt .

A research conducted some years ago said , “ All these 3 areas are mix of various communities of India.But religious composition of these areas is predominantly Muslim.” The study revealed that while many communities from various parts of India are living in these slums , which are now biggest slums of Mumbai in post- Dharavi  era , but Muslims are living in these slums in large number .

This study puts a question, why Muslim community  has been   living or forced to live in the slums of Mumbai ? When Dharavi was the largest Slum area of Mumbai, Muslims  ,  by  numbers , were amongst the large group of slum dwellers  there  also .

After Dharavi , Govandi became the largest slum area of city .According to study , Muslims are the largest slum dweller group in Govandi .After Govandi , Deonar is the  second largest slum and Muslims are also a dominant group living there .

In the past few decades, Kurla – Ghatkopar area  became a slum belt very  rapidly .Apart from many other religious groups , Muslims  also constitute a considerable number of slum dwellers in this belt  .

These slum areas lack basic amenities .The human development index of all these areas, according to various reports is very poor and below the city average .The areas lack proper educational , social , sanitation , and health infrastructure .

Various  reasearch and inquiry documents  like Sachar Committee report , Mandal Commssion report , Mehmood ur Rehman Committee report   concluded that socio-economically Muslims are very backward  and they must be recognised as socio – economic backward class. Their  condition in some part of country  is worse  than Dalits .The study in city slum areas like Kurla – Ghatkoper belt and Deonar -Govandi  belt stands proof to this.

Therefore there is an  urgent need to allocate proper funds  for all round and multi sectoral development of these areas , and inclusive development of Muslims  must be guaranteed as per the recommendations of various commissions. The Muslim community leaders and urban planners must come together to answer this question .

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