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Riot victims still live in unbearable surroundings in Gujarat

New Delhi: Zakat Foundation of India Chairman, Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, in a meeting here after return from his tour of Gujarat said that most of the riot-affected people of Gujarat are still facing great difficulties, particularly in those localities which were built by local Muslim organisations where about 200 families of riot-hit people are living under unbearable conditions. He said that these two localities are situated between two dumping grounds, each about a kilometre long and 50 ft high with mounds of rubbish. It is very difficult for a common man to stay there even for a short while but these unfortunate and helpless people have perforce been living there for years. He said that in both these localities there is unbearable stench from all the sides and certainly alongwith wind dirt and harmful germs also come. In rainy season dirty water and dirt of this place flows into their houses. He said that there is neither sewage nor drainage system nor schools for children of riot-hit people in these localities. Monthly income per head is from Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 who work mostly in factories. These people have also not been provided with necessary documents of their houses.

Dr. Zafar Mahmood had come to Gujarat during American Federation of Muslim Indians (AFMI)’s welfare programmes and after personally seeing the conditions of the people and their localities expressed his deep concern and sorrow. He made an appeal to the people of Gujarat to unite themselves and jointly struggle for their rights by working within the limits of Indian Constitution and laws. He asked them to find out the true position under RTI and constitute a pressure group to put pressure on government officials to provide all civic and other government facilities for themselves. He impressed upon them that unless Muslims and riot-affected people themselves join a common platform and pressurise government officials for removal of their difficulties, nothing would be done. He made an appeal to well-to-do Muslims of Gujarat to cooperate with ZFI so that assistance to all riot-hit people of Gujarat could be provided in an organised manner.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 20

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