Increasing residential segregation of Muslims, Dalits in urban India: Study

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A latest study has yet again found increasing segregation of Dalits and Muslims across Indian cities with the latter facing the brunt most in terms of access to basic facilities like schools, health services, piped water and sewage etc.

A recent study revealed the residential segregation and public services in urban India, while prejudice and limited economic mobility plague both communities, communal riots have driven the ghettoisation of Muslims in cities irrespective of social class, education and status. The study is the latest in line of a series of previous studies which found Indian cities characterised by a “high degree of inequality” in the availability of basic services.

The study published by four academics – Naveen Bharathi, Deepak Malghan, Sumit Mishra, Andaleeb Rahman – says, “The emancipatory promise of urbanisation has failed to fructify for millions of Dalits and Muslims who are relegated to the spaces with poor public services.” Even if you are elite or super-rich, you will be relegated to a few neighbourhoods, says the study.

Speaking to noted portal Article 14, one of the four co-authors of the paper, Naveen Bharathi, currently a fellow at the Centre for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, said, “Urban riots and because of the current situation, it can be unsafe to be in a diverse neighbourhood. You can be easily targeted. You won’t get housing easily if you are a Muslim.”

Earlier, dietary habits of Muslims were said to be one the leading causes of their segregation in urban areas, but of late animosity against the community has unexpectedly increased to its peak where the mere name and nomenclature are sufficient grounds for their segregation.

While there is no data to quantitatively claims made by a plethora of research papers and studies about the segregation of Indian cities along religious lines – the Census of India doesn’t make any enumeration on religious basis – pervasive biases existing among the majority (Hindu) community have further increased amid the resurgence of the rightwing groups.

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