Gujarat: Citizens. Initiative for Justice & Peace
Update March 14, 2002
|Teesta Setalvad||Fr Cedric Prakash||Wifred DeSouza|
Our updates were interrupted for a few days due to the overwhelming pressures caused by both exhaustion and the continued unabated violence in the far-flung reaches of rural Gujarat especially Baroda rural segments. From the evening of Monday March 11,02 sustained attacks by adivasis instigated by venomous print and audio visual propaganda distributed in large numbers by the VHP and Bajrang Dal succeeded in driving out all Muslims from the villages of Panvad, Kamvat and Tejgadh Displaces persons are seeking shelter in the small town of ChhotaUdaipur and every day calls from panic-striken residents are terrified of an attack on them in the town. Of the local residents that total 45,000, 12,000 belong to the Muslim minority. By now, there are already 2,000 persons in the relief camps in ChhotaUdaipur.
Migration has also taken place from the town of Mehsana where there has been widespread destruction and it is reported that as many as 15,000 persons are heading towards Juhapura in the old city of Ahmedabad. This means additional strain on the camps already located there and the need for tents and other materials. We will keep you updated on the developments there.
Elected representatives of the BJP within Ahmedabad flanked by the VHP and BD leaders leading gangs have been spotted spreading more terror and fear in both Ahmedabad and Baroda. There is great apprehension given the fact that the VHP, apparently peeved by the SC stand banning any form of worship at the site of the Babri Masjid, is likely to foment greater and greater tension on the ground. A brittle and brutalised Gujarat, yet to come to terms with the sheer expanse and extent of the brutality of the pre-mediated violence inflicted on an innocent citizenry is incapable of dealing with more pogromed violence and terror. All of us within and outside, individuals and groups, need to sustain our efforts at protests, at projection --- keeping the injustice and horror of Gujarat alive in the specific context of bringing the guilty to book and punishing of the guilty.
The issues that the Gujarat State Sponsored Genocide Raises are:
State and Government Sponsored Pogrom Against Minorities;
Violence of a Brutal and Most De- Humanised Kind on Men, Women and Children;
Sustained and Systematic Economic Destruction of Minority Businesses and Properties Across Gujarat;
The Use of a Full Time Trained Militia for Destruction, Physical, Mental and Psychological;
Destruction of Religious Places of Worship and Durgahs, which are shrines of syncretic worship;
Dismissal of Chief Minister, Narendra Modi who classifies as a mass murder and his criminal prosecution on a speedy basis under Indian law;
Reparation for the Destruction of Life and Property to the Muslim Minority by the State and Organisations like the BJP/VHP and Bajrang Dal on a priority basis;
Relief and Rehabilitation with Dignity and Security to all the Survivors on a priority basis;
Dismissal from Positions and subsequent Prosecution of All Politicians, Government Servants and Policemen responsible for dereliction of duty in perpetrating the violence or failing to protect the victims
We need to write sustained protests on Gujarat to the President of India, Shri Narayanan, the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Home Minister, L.K.Advani, and the International Community. We attach below a list of addresses to which these protests may be addressed.
Yesterday, that is on Wednesday, a petition pressing for the postponement of the Gujarat State Board examinations was moved in the Gujarat High Court at Ahmedabad. It is a measure of the fear psychosis that has led many of us to define the political situation a the arrival of fascism that the Chief Justice of the Court refused to hear the matter and referred it to another bench in the afternoon. Finally, orders have been passed to postpone the examinations and today a further clarification will be sort from the Court to ensure that a second date for exams is set for those children dislocated seriously.
Meanwhile, while a fair amount of relief has been obtained for distribution within Ahmedabad, the camps located in smaller towns where displaced persons from villages completely destroyed have arrived or the ones located at small village sites themselves are in dire need of relief. We have been keeping close touch with many of these locales and are for the purposes of disseminating relief to these places, enclosing a list of such camps and sites along with contact numbers. We are unfortunately unable to take direct responsibility for the disbursal of funds and any of the technicalities related to this. So we can -disseminate authentic information and urge that you make a phone call, crosscheck for yourself and thereafter make your decision.
It was unanimously decided to make a universal and public demand on the official Commission that has been announced by the State Government through legal interventions. These are:
To reject the appointment of a local Judge and demand that due to the extent of breakdown of the constitutional machinery of the State a diverse and representative team of Supreme Court Judges be appointed to conduct the inquiry;
That the terms of the Commission be made powerful;
That the State commits itself to accepting the recommendations.
In addition, a People. s Judicial Commission of Inquiry with a time frame of a few months and a series of other interventions have been worked out and will be initiated shortly.
Another writ on the conditions of Relief Camps and Demands that Security be provided to persons living in Relief Camps is being drafted in the Supreme Court
On the issue of relief and rehabilitation, of
no less than 50,000 displaced persons within Ahmedabad alone, we need to
make a concerted demand on the following
Bare necessities like food, clothing and temporary shelter have not reached several of the camps on the outskirts of Ahmedabad,
Tin sheets in large numbers are needed to make temporary shelters,
· Every day, bodies I a dismembered and unidentifiable state are being recovered from different parts of Gujarat. It is important that the Army goes, with some community leaders among Muslims, to recover these bodies and give them a dignified burial,
The issue of rehabilitation on government land with constructed homes is looming large especially as in many areas persons are not willing to go back. Relocation without sensitivity and examination can however be mindless as locations of communities have more to do with economic reasons, the sources of livelihood rather than any other; urgent attention needs to be paid to the matter
Civil society groups need to ensure that ration cards or photo-passes are issued afresh and swiftly for all inmates of relief camps. If this is not done there is a real danger that the State, which has already displayed a blatantly partisan and fascist role, will tomorrow actually rob these residents of Ahmedabad their basic right, that of citizenship.
All groups working in these areas, and there are many, need to pay special attention to assisting eyewitnesses and survivors registering FIRs promptly.
The State government needs to provide on a mass basis bore wells to the Muslim peasants of the State who have already been targeted and their bore wells destroyed.
Please join our campaign for speedy and meaningful relief and rehabilitation by faxing the above mentioned demands to:
K. Subha Rao, Chief Secretary
Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar
The President of India
New Delhi 110004
Justice S.P. Bharucha,
The Chief Justice
The Supreme Court of India,
New Delhi 110001.
Prime Minister of India
7, Safdarjung Road,
New Delhi 110001.
Home Minister of India
Ministry of Home Affairs,Govt of India
New Delhi 110001
We are attaching here a detailed list of Relief Camps and Urge you, one and All to get in touch with them directly:
1. Anand Zakariya Naya Vatan
Contact person: Mr. Ismail Sarodi
2. Anand Nutan Nagar
Contact person: Mr. Salimbhai Engineer
Contact person: Mr. Mohammed Sharifbhai Ismailbhai
4. Masjide Inaam
Contact person: Mr. Hafez Iqbal
Contact person: Mr. Sayeed Khan Thakur
6. Napa Bacchon ka Ghar
Contact person: Mr. Kazi Maulana Ismail
Contact person: Master Saburiya
Contact person: Mr. Keriwala Ghulam Ahmed
Contact person: Mr. Farid Khan Zabaru Khan Pathan
Contact person: Mr. Mannubhai
Contact person: Mr. Supariwala
Contact person: Mr. Haji Abdul Patiwala
Contact person: Mr. Idrish Davawala
Contact person: Mr. Ibrahimbhai Vora
Ph: (PP) 0269751702
Contact person: Mr. Mufti Ayub Saheeb
Contact person: Mr. Maulana Irfan
Contact person: Mr. Abdul bhai Rasul bhai
Contact person: Mr. B. J. Malik
1. Hazi Abdul Masjid M. Vora
2. Nadiyad Vora Ismail bhai Ramolwala
3. Mahemadavad Vora Kasam bhai Valasanwala
Sati bhai Mansuri
4. Thasara Vora Usman bhai Talkiswala
5. Sugitra Haji Abdullah Patiwala
6. Petlad Vora Ibrahim Pandoliwala
7. Aanklav Sikandaraj