March 5, 2002

 

Urgent Apeal from Citizens of Gujarat & India

To

Shri K. R. Narayanan

President of India

New Delhi

 

Dear Sir,

The situation in Gujarat is desperate. It is a tragedy of appalling human proportions. Not only has the State indulged in direct and systematic acts of murder, terror and targeting of economic properties of the minority community in Gujarat. Now the state is actively preventing relief and rehabilitation reaching the affected areas, relief camps in the city that are being treated like concentration camps.

Six days after brutal violence has rocked Gujarat state, especially Ahmedabad city, the sheer scale and dimension of the tragedy and itís lasting impact is being callously rejected by the ruling state government. The loss of life has been totally put at 500, our approximate estimate is that it may touch a staggering figure of 2,000. While 2,00,000 rupees in compensation was immediately announced to the surviving relatives of the victims of the Godhra tragedy, the Gujarat government is revealing itís sectarian approach by simply not declaring payment of compensation to the victims of violence post-Godhra. We are collectively demanding that such compensation be announced and the 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 these relief camps is pathetic, every resident is suffering from mental trauma; the government and administration is treating them like 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 epidemic.

The situation is so desperate that even the bodies of the deceased, our brothers, sisters and children killed in the most brutal and inhuman manner have not been given any dignified right of life or departure. Bodies lie in the most de-humanised state and the State is refusing to look into this.

 

 

 

 

 

We demand from You, Mr. President, The Central Government and The Gujarat Government that:

Sir, it would be in order that in your capacity as President of India, the Constitutional Head of the India that you make a generous contribution from the Presidentís Fund for the Reparation of the Loss of Life, Dignity and Property of the citizensóreligious minoritiesóin Gujarat. What Gujarat, especially the city of Ahmedabad experienced over the past week was an utter and complete breakdown of constitutional authority. The moral and physical response to the scale of the tragedy needs your active intervention in every way possible.

 

Shabana Azmi

Member of Parliament

Javed Akhtar,

Senior poet, Artiste

Girishbhai Patel

Senior Jurist, Lok Adhikar Sangh

Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand

Communalism Combat, PUHR

D.N.Pathak,

President, PUCL Gujarat

Father Cedric Prakash

PRASHANT, PUHR

Indubhai Jani,

PUHR

Rajendra Prasad

SAMHAT

Dr Hanif Lakdawala,

IFIE, PUHR

Sheba George,

PUHR, SAHRWARU, NAWO

Vivan Sundaram

SAHMAT

Shabnam Hashmi

SAHMAT

Sushobha Barve

Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation

Gautam Thaker

India National Bank Employees Federation

Father Francis Parmar

Movement for Secular Democracy

Rajkumari Pariyani,

SAHRWARU

Sophia Khan

Vikas Adhayan Kendra

Wilfred DíCosta

INSAAF

K.Stalin,

DRISHTI

Shabnam Virmani,

DRISHTI

Sejal Dand,

ANANDI

Meera Goardia

Arvind Lodaya

AND SEVERAL OTHERS

Details of Relief Camps

(Ahmedabad City Alone)

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

Chartoda Kabrasthan (Gomtipur) 3000 people

Madhavbai Mill Compound (Gomtipur) 3000 people

Nagoripatel Ni Challi (Saraspur) 1000 people

Amanchowk 4500 people

Sundaram Nagar (Bapunagar)

Gayatri Society (Bapunagar) 2500 people

Shah Alam Dargah 5000 people

Bibi Talav 1500 people

Al-Medina 1500 people

Al-Kuba 1500 people

Alif Nagar (all around Shah Alam Vatva Road) 1500 people

Shahibaug area 3000 people

Shahpur 3000 people

Odhav area 2000 people

 

 

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

Father Cedric Prakash Teesta Setalvad