Is Gujarat a vibrant state?

There has been a consistent increase in recorded human rights violation cases in the state of Gujarat during the last three years, states a government handout. The total number of cases has increased by 32% in 2009-10, while in 2008-09 there was a 59% jump in such cases, as compared to the previous year.

There has been an unending rise in incidents of human rights violations committed by the police, violations of the rights of scheduled castes and tribes and an escalation of such cases even by the judiciary. Encouragingly, the cases in prison have shown a sharp decline.

Cases relating to violation of human rights by the Gujarat police have increased to 910 from 602 in the period April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010. There has been an increase of 51% in such cases, while the percentage increase from 2007-08 to 2008-09 was 65%.

Misuse of power by the police and failure to take legal action were the cases most often reported with the Gujarat State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

Similarly, incidents connected with atrocities on scheduled tribes and scheduled castes have seen a sharp increase of 184% from 2008-09 to 2009-10. The cases shot up from 50 to 142 in just one year. More people have come forward to register the injustice against them and have approached the SC/ST cells of the government. said sources.

Charges of biased judiciary and double jeopardy too have increased from 18 in 2008-09 to 22 in 2009-10. The cases were just 7 in 2007-08. Apart from that, human rights violations in health related matters too have increased from 13 to 22 in the same period.

Of all the cities in Gujarat, Ahmedabad is the least safe for women. This is the finding of Gujarat State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) whose report for the year 2009-10 was tabled in the assembly. In contrast, the Dangs district, one of the least developed regions of Gujarat, has the lowest figures for crime against women.

The SHRC report, which is based on crime figures of the State Crime Record Bureau, covers serious crimes against women, including murder, rape, kidnapping, attempt to murder and dowry death. Other crimes, such as harassment, eve-teasing, abetment to suicide and serious injuries, are also covered by the report.

Ahmedabad city recorded 49 rapes in 2009-10, the highest in the state. Apart from this, there were 14 incidents of murder of women, 153 of kidnapping, 1429 cases of harassment, 7 of attempt to murder, 6 of dowry death, 96 cases of eve-teasing and 13 cases of attempt to suicide by women in the city in the same period.

Surat city is the second most unsafe city for women in Gujarat. With 22 women murdered, the city topped the state in the number of women killed in 2009-10.

Further, the city recorded 98 cases of kidnapping of women, 36 cases of abetment to suicide, 3 of dowry deaths, and 420 cases of harassment.

In sharp contrast to the major urban centres of the state, the Dangs district recorded, in 2009-10, the lowest figures for crime against women. Incidentally, there were no rapes or dowry deaths in this backward district in the same period.

Gujarat government has given away valuable land measuring 78.83 crore sq. meters to industrialists in the last two years. The Modi government does not give land to farmers and landless labourers while industrialists are being favoured, leader of opposition in Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil said.

The state government itself has given the above figures in reply to queries about it from Congress MLAs in the Assembly. Gohil said that the Modi government is pro rich and does nothing for poor farmers. It is a government of industrialists, he alleged.

Giving details he said that Nirma Ltd has been given around 15 crore sq.m. land in Bhavnagar, Tata consultancy 1.03 lakh sq.m. in Gandhinagar, Tata Motors 44.51 lakh sq.m., Ultratech cement around 15 lakh sq.m. in Amreli, Archian Chemicals around 24.02 crore sq.m. in Kutch, Solaris Chemtech 26.74 crore sq.m., Enorcon India Ltd 10.3 lakh sq.m. in Rajkot and Adani has been allotted 5.22 crore sq.m. in Kutch besides a few other companies.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 10

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