As Gujarat Votes, A Special Booth For India's "Mini-African Village"

Gujarat polls: One of the villagers said their forefathers had come to Gujarat for work when Junagadh fort was being built.

As Gujarat Votes, A Special Booth For India's 'Mini-African Village'

Gujarat polls: A local said despite their African roots, they follow Indian and Gujarati traditions.

Jambur, Gujarat:

As Gujarat votes for the first phase of the assembly elections today, a special tribal booth has been set up for the first time in Jambur, a 'mini-African village' in the state.

Voting is underway in 89 out of Gujarat's 182 seats in this first phase. The remaining seats will go to polls in the second phase on December 5.

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Rahman, who is a senior citizen and a resident of Jambur village, said it is great pleasure that a special booth has been set up for them.

"It is a matter of great pleasure for us that the Election Commission has decided to make a special booth for us to vote. We have been living in this village for years. But this is happening for the first time which makes us very happy," he said.

"Our forefathers are from Africa and we came to India many years ago. When the fort was being built in Junagadh, our forefathers came here for work, First, we settled in Ratanpur village and then gradually settled in Jaanwar village. We have got the status of Siddhi tribal community," Mr Rahman said.

He said that despite their African roots, they follow the Indian and Gujarati traditions.

Abdul Maguj Bhai, who contested as an independent from Talala, said that the local community suffers in the area.

"The village is situated in the middle of two rivers. Everyone lives together here. I am contesting elections from here for the third time. We want to go to the assembly. We get rights so that we can do more good work. We are called the Africa of India. We are known as the Siddhi tribal community. The government keeps helping the tribals, there is no problem in that, but our local community suffers here, we don't get many facilities," he said.

He further said that the tribals follow their own path.

"We have talked to the government regarding the local problems and have given it in writing too. But our community is a tribe here and everyone follows their own path. That's why there is a problem. They defame the government without any reason," he further said.

Farming is the main occupation of the community, he added.

"Apart from farming, the people of our community perform local Jus Siddhi tribal dance. The programs are performed at various places visited by tourists. This is also our source of income," he added.

The voting for the first phase began at 8 am and will conclude at 5 pm today.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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