HomeLatest NewsIn Delhi’s Khajuri Khas, Muslims say their names were intentionally deleted from electoral rolls

In Delhi’s Khajuri Khas, Muslims say their names were intentionally deleted from electoral rolls

NEW DELHI: Farha Khan, a resident of Shri Ram Colony in Delhi’s Khajuri Khas area was furious when Scroll spoke to her. Three days before, on May 25, when Khan went to vote at a polling booth in the North East Delhi constituency, the 25-year-old found that the word “deleted” had been printed across her name on the electoral rolls.

Farha’s sister, 28-year-old Rubeena Khan, had also met the same fate. The two sisters could not vote and the polling officers at the booth could not explain the reason why their names had been deleted.

“I have voted in every election since 2019, how can my name be suddenly deleted?” Farha Khan wondered. “My parents and my brother could vote. How is it possible that three people in the same home are on the [voters’] list and two are not?”

The Khan sisters were not the only ones in Khajuri Khas, a Muslim-dominated locality, who found on the day of polling that their names had been deleted from the electoral rolls. The matter was first flagged by volunteers of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India who had set up help desks outside polling booths of the North East Delhi seat.

“This time, we found an unusually high number of voters whose names had been deleted,” Yogesh Swamy of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India told Scroll. “These people had no clue about this. They came to know only at the polling booth.”

Swamy contested the North East Delhi constituency as an independent candidate, since the Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India is not a registered party.

Media met voters from seven households in Khajuri Khas whose names have been deleted from the electoral rolls. Four of these families have shifted homes in the last few years, while three of them – like in Farha Khan’s case – have been living in the same home.

The voters alleged that deleting their names was a conspiracy targetted at keeping Muslims away as they would have voted against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. However, poll officials denied this claim. The electoral registration officer of the locality told Scroll that due process had been followed in all cases of deleting voters from the electoral rolls.

‘BJP did not want us to vote’

On May 25, Himanshu Thakur, a Revolutionary Workers’ Party volunteer was stationed at a voters’ help desk outside polling booth number 249 in Road No 18 of C block in Shri Ram Colony of Khajuri Khas.

“Many voters complained to us that their names had been deleted,” Thakur told Scroll. “I checked the voter list and saw that was indeed the case and most of these voters were Muslims. I felt something was fishy about so many voters’ names being deleted.”

Thakur then tweeted a video showing that several names on the voter list of road numbers 17,18 and 19 of C Block had been deleted. A copy of the list, which Scroll accessed, shows that the names of 92 voters had been deleted in these three roads alone. Ninety of these voters have Muslim names.

In Khajuri (a muslim majority area in North East Delhi), many people’s votes have been deleted. There are substantial number of people whose polling station is very far from their homes.

Thakur also cited a news report aired on the Dilli Tak news channel in which voters complained on the polling day that their names had been deleted from the list even as they had voted as recently as in the 2022 civic body elections in Delhi.

Voters whom Scroll met on the ground also made similar complaints. Farha Khan’s neighbour, Firdaus Alam is a case in point. Alam found her name had been deleted from the list, even as her brother Aftab Alam could vote. The Alams have been living in their Khajuri Khas home for more than two decades.

“We live in the same house and our polling booths are also the same,” said Firdaus. “If there was something wrong with our address or other details, his name should also have been deleted.”

Firdaus Alam found that her name had been deleted from the voters’ list even as his brother Aftab Alam was able to vote.

Ayyub Khan, whose family lives in an alley adjoining the Alam household, made the same argument. The names of Khan, one of his sons and two of his daughters-in-law were found to be deleted from the voters’ list. However, three other members of the family could vote.

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