Gujarat to Grant Religious Minority Status to Jews, Announces CM Rupani in Israel
Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani met Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu on June 28. (Image: Twitter/Vijay Rupani)
Gandhinagar: The miniscule Jewish Community of Gujarat is overjoyed. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is presently in Israel on a six-day visit, announced on Thursday that the state government will issue a notification, according minority status to Jews in Gujarat.
The notification is expected to be issued within days of the Chief Minister's return to Gujarat.
There are just 170 members of the Jewish community in Gujarat, of which 140 are settled in Ahmedabad, while the remaining 30 are in other parts of the state.
There are small groups of Jews in Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara as well. The population of Jews in the state is so low that they do not even figure separately in the 2011 census.
In the last census, Jews have been mentioned as part of "Other Communities", which account for 16,480 members in the state.
"We are obviously very happy at the announcement by the Gujarat Government. We have been trying for this for quite a long time and it has finally come. Members of the Jewish community do not expect any benefit for themselves but minority status will ensure that our places of worship and burial will be safeguarded better," Avin Divekar, Secretary of the Magen Abraham Synagogue, Ahmedabad, told News18.
Jews of Gujarat had made a representation more than a couple of years back to former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and were assured that their representation would be addressed and considered. Then after Vijay Rupani took over as the Chief Minister, a delegation of Jews met him again in August last year and made a similar representation. However, matters got expedited in January this year when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited India.
Officials of the Directorate of Minority Affairs and the Developing Caste Welfare Board met a delegation of Jews separately and submitted their report to the state government.
In April this year, Jews met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani yet again and were assured that their representation is under consideration.
Jews state that according minority status to them will ensure better maintenance and security of their places of worship and burial.
Leaders of the community say that a few Jewish cemeteries have been taken over by land sharks in some parts of the state and most importantly, Jews face a threat from terrorist outfits as well.
A few months ago, the state police had arrested two technicians, who had confessed to having made plans to attack places of worship of the Jewish community in the state.