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16000 Muslims still displaced in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad: Janvikas, an NGO in Gujarat has just published a detailed survey report which shows that while over 200,000 people were displaced during the 2002 violence in Gujarat, over 16,000 people are still living in 83 refugee camps across the state 10 years later.

Surviving without basic infrastructure facilities like roads, electricity and gutter lines, the victims are victimised by the system’s laissez-faire approach in solving their issues.

Some of these victims narrate tales of their miserable existence beside garbage dumps and living in places that are nothing short of dump yards themselves.

They were speaking at a convention titled ‘Gujarat’s internally displaced: Ten years later’, which is part of the programmes organised by several NGOs under Insaf ki Dagar Par event. The convention was held by Janvikas here on 30 April. Recounting tales of horror that continue even after a decade, Shama Banu Ansari, a resident of a relief colony said, “I have been living in a pathetic condition for the last 10 years. We lack basic facilities and our complaints to government officials fall on deaf ears.” She said that the water which flows out of the overflowing gutters and right into her colony has even killed a girl, not to mention about the others who have fallen ill from the unhygienic living conditions.

Rohit Prajapati, secretary of People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), said it is high time the government, that would like everyone to believe that there are no riot-affected in the state, takes a hard look at reality. “It is time they made a package for the internally displaced and also helped those who want to return to their villages,” said Prajapati. He further said those who live in riot colonies are people who don’t dare to return to their original place due to threat to their lives.

Several other victims apart from activists include Prakash Shah of Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD) and Vijay Parmar, CEO of Jan Vikas. These are the people who cannot dare to return to their original place of residence and have, since 2002, been residing in shelters built by NGOs and Muslim charitable organisations.

To read the Janvikas report, visit: http://janvikas.in/download/Status_report_IDPs.pdf

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 1

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