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State neglect, violence, and community resistance in a Muslim settlement of Ahmedabad


Ahmedabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat, is both diverse and divided. While it has benefited from recent economic growth, its population is riven by religious conflict and stark income disparities. Following communal violence in 2002, the informal settlement of Bombay Hotel emerged as one of the city’s largest ghettos, with a steady stream of mainly Muslim, low-income residents drawn by low land prices. 

Long neglected by state authorities, Bombay Hotel residents have endured years of exploitation by non-state actors who provide water and other basic services at extortionate rates. As long-delayed planning for crucial infrastructure finally got underway, local leaders and residents joined with civil society to resist mass evictions. The resulting negotiations have minimized the loss of homes and property while gradually bringing roads, street lighting, drainage, and modest improvements in policing and schools.

In this 2016 working paper, researchers with the Centre for Development and CEPT University’s Centre for Urban Equity document the everyday conflicts in Bombay Hotel and the dynamics that have driven both violence and resistance. It points to directions for more inclusive planning and governance, building upon the negotiated process of improvement that has begun in the settlement.

Read the working paper “Bombay Hotel: Urban Planning, Governance and Everyday Conflict and Violence in a Muslim Locality on the Peripheries of Ahmedabad” (PDF, 4.40 MB).

Explore the IDRC-supported project, Poverty, inequality and violence in urban India: Towards more inclusive urban planning.

Learn more about IDRC’s research support to make cities safer through the Safe and Inclusive Cities partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.