Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Houses razed by government, 700 fishermen in Gujarat find names deleted from voter list

Deputy Election Officer of Devbhumi Dwarka, JD Patel, said that only after due process were the names of these fishermen deleted from the list.
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 03:57 IST
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 03:57 IST

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Seven hundred fishermen living in the fishing harbours of Gandhvi and Navadra in Devbhumi Dwarka had witnessed demolition of their houses in March last year. They recently came to know that they will not be able to vote in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections as their names have been deleted by the Election Commission from the electoral rolls, The Indian Express reported.

A fisherman named Ayyub Pateliya from Gandhvi whose wife Sakina was elected to Gandhvi village panchayat around 10 years ago, told the publication that around 10 days ago, he visited a religious place in Miyani to pay his obeisance. Upon reaching there, he asked people around whether voter slips were distributed in the village and if someone on his behalf had accepted the slip. “ I was told no,” he added.

Later he enquired about the same thing over a call and was told the same thing. He was then informed that along with three other members of his family, his name had been deleted from the voter list and that they will not be able to cast their votes in the elections.

Out of around 350 fishermen who were registered voters in Gandhvi, names of around 347 fisherman have been deleted from electoral rolls, mentioned fisherman leader Gafoor Pateliya.

“Only three names have been retained while the rest have been deleted. Similarly, out of 225 voters in Navadra, names of 224 have been deleted,’ he added.

Forty-five-year-old Gafoor also stated that fishermen from Gandhvi and Navadra shifted their bases to Rupen harbour near Dwarka town, to Madhavpur in Porbandar, Mangrol in Junagadh and Hirakot in Gir Somnath district after losing their houses after the demolition last year.

He further mentioned that a senior police officer had asked them not to apply for change in address in their Aadhaar Card, voter’s identity cards and PAN cards as they might get a chance to continue staying in Gandhvi and Navadra.

This is why the fishermen did not apply for any change in their documents, but they now see their names missing from the voter’s list, Gafoor stated.

Gafoor and Ayyub had relocated to Madhavpur as an aftermath of the demolition drive, the publication mentioned.

Gafoor also mentioned that all those names that have been deleted from the list belonged to the minority community and they had voted in the Gujarat Assembly election held in December 2022.

The homes and sheds in Gandhvi, a village near the temple of goddess Harsiddhi where the fishermen stayed, was considered as an encroachment on government’s land.

Deputy Election Officer of Devbhumi Dwarka JD Patel said that only after due process were the names of these fishermen deleted from the list.

Patel said, “Approximately 700 names were deleted from voters’ lists of these villages in July last year. However, it was done after following due process.” He added, “As is required by the law, these voters were served notices individually."

Patel also stated that a public notice was displayed at the concerned village panchayat asking why the names should not be deleted from electoral rolls, but there was no response to this.

On the basis of the reports of village 'sarpanches' and 'talatis' (village panchayat clerks) that those people no longer lived in Gandhvi and Navadra, the electoral registration officer of Dwarka, the sub-divisional magistrate of Dwarka ordered the deleting of the following names from the electoral rolls, Patel told the publication.

He also said that the names which had been traced in the villages were retained in the electoral list.

“Around 48 individuals from the affected areas were found in the villages during the exercise of rolls revision and therefore , their names have been retained in the rolls,” Patel stated, adding that the draft electoral rolls were published and displayed at respective village panchayat offices and no one objected to deletion of approximately 700 names mentioned in those draft electoral rolls.

The Deputy Election Officer further said that these fishermen had the option of getting their names registered at the place where they have relocated to after the demolition.

Patel also mentioned that the fishermen whose names have been deleted from the list have the option of getting it re-registered at the respective places where they have relocated to after the demolition.

Published 08 May 2024, 03:57 IST

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