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Citizens' Initiative for Justice & Peace

Riot victims being treated like prisoners

Update: March 5, 2002

Six days after brutal violence rocked Gujarat state, especially Ahmedabad city, the sheer scale and dimension of the tragedy and it's lasting impact is being callously rejected by the ruling state government. The total loss of life has been put at 500, but our estimate is that the casualties may be closer to a staggering figure of 2,000.

While Rs. 2 lakh as compensation to the surviving relatives of the victims of the Godhra tragedy was immediately announced, the Gujarat government is revealing it's sectarian approach by simply not declaring payment of compensation to the victims of violence post-Godhra. We are demanding that an identical compensation amount be announced for families of the other victims and that areas that are today housing thousands of internally displaced persons be declared as relief camps.

Fifteen make-shift camps located in different parts of Ahmedabad, all within Muslim bastis, house at least 35,000 internally displaced persons. It is feared that this figure may touch 50,000 once a complete survey of the city is carried out. These figures do not reflect the figures of displaced persons from other towns and villages.

The condition at the relief camps is pathetic, every resident is suffering from mental trauma; the government and administration is treating them like prisoners in concentration camps: the survivors are not allowed to step out or move about freely, even for basic commodities. The immediate need is for milk, oil, grains, rice, tea and temporary building materials like mandaps etc since at the moment the survivors are housed in make shift accomodation in extremely unsanitary conditions.

Many of the survivors suffer from burns and other serious injuries; medicines and medical attention and health care is the need of the hour. There is also the genuine fear of an epidemic breaking out. Individuals and groups who can arrange for such commodities to be sent to Gujarat are urged to do so. We can provide details of collection and distribution centres. However if you prefer to send cash from which material can be bought, we also enclose details of the agency to where this may be urgently despatched.

Individuals and citizens' forums in Ahmedabad have together formed a Citizen 's Initiative for the collection and distribution of humanitarian relied in a coordinated manner.

The People's Union for Human Rights (PUHR) along with many other organisations will be engaged in the task of documenting details on the extensive loss of life, missing persons and the attacks on people and their properties to assist the proposed People's Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence in Gujarat. To be led by Justices Krishna Iyer, Hosbet Suresh and S.M. Daud will be initiated soon.

Please demand from the President, the Central Government and the Gujarat Government that: - Adequate Reparation for Loss of Life and Property for ALL victims of Gujarat violence. - Declaration of Camps of Internally Displaced Persons as Relief Camps. - State takes complete responsibility for the Relief and Rehabilitation of Affected persons. - Transparent and Speedy Rehabilitation of Survivors.

Meanwhile please send your contributions by cheque or draft to Gujarat Education Society (Attention Father Cedric Prakash) C/o Prashant, Post Box 4002 Ahmedabad 380 009

Father Cedric Prakash Teesta Setalvad
Prashant, PUHR Communalism Combat, PUHR

(Ahmedabad City Alone)

Given below are the relief camps that have been contacted by the NGOs working in various areas of Ahmedabad till today.

Chartoda Kabrasthan (Gomtipur) 3,000 people
Madhavbai Mill Compound (Gomtipur) 3,000 people
Nagoripatel Ni Challi (Saraspur) 1,000 people
Amanchowk 4,500 people
Sundaram Nagar (Bapunagar)
Gayatri Society (Bapunagar) 2,500 people
Shah Alam Dargah 5,000 people
Bibi Talav 1,500 people
Al-Medina 1,500 people
Al-Kuba 1,500 people
Alif Nagar (Around Shah Alam-Vatva Road)1,500 people
Shahibaug area 3,000 people
Shahpur 3,000 people
Odhav area 2,000 people

All these numbers are approximate; however, there are several other camps in the city (all in Muslim Bastis) which have not been reached by the NGOs as yet. The actual numbers of Muslim refugees in the camps can safely be put at about 50,000.

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