forum demands justice for victims of violence in Gujarat
As a continuation of efforts by the artists forum an eminent group of
artists and literatures met at ISI on 9th July, at 5:30 pm. to discuss
further action regarding the situation in Gujarat.
Participants: Mahashweta Devi, Harsh Mander, Rajmohan Gandhi, K. Sachidanand,
Ashok Vajpayee, Ganesh Devi, Krishna Kumar, Anand, Uma Chakravarty, Meena
Radhakrishna, Prakash Luis, Apoorvanand, Sehba.
Harsh Mander talked about the situation in the camps and pointed out that
the way the state authorities were subverting relief and rehabilitation
methods is unprecedented. Despite the assurance from the Prime Minister's
and affidavits in courts the Gujarat Government is cutting down food supplies
to the relief camps in Ahmedabad.
The volunteers running
the camps and the inmates are constantly under direct or covert threat
from the authorities. The camps are in fact being closed down forcibly.
Other issues brought
up in the meeting were:
- There is improper
or no assessment of the damage to houses and property of the victims.
The few rehabilitation packages being distributed are paltry and insufficient.
- Follow up on FIRs
and action against the culprits is essential to restore confidence amongst
the victims. Letting the culprits go Scot-free would set a very dangerous
- NHRC's inaction
after the report is a matter of concern. Letters should be sent to the
commission requesting the members to see to it that the report is implemented.
To achieve this, if required they should even go to the Supreme Court.
After intense discussion
the decisions taken at the meeting were.
- Immediate filing
of a PIL in the supreme court demanding the a) implementation of NHRC
recommendations and b) The appointment of a commissioner with the power
of the supreme court to oversee the implementation of the court's orders.
- A delegation will
meet the members of NHRC to prompt them to go to court with the demand
for implementation of its findings as the NHRC is authorized to do so
by the statue of law
- The legal action
against the culprits and follow up on the FIR's will be done separately
from the PIL.
- Planning for a
national campaign later in the year should start now. The campaign will
involve people from all over India converging towards Gujarat and meeting
in Ahmedabad on a pre-determined date for a convention and the re-building
of Wali Daccani's Mazar. It was decided to start collecting names of
representatives from various cities to organize the national campaign
at a mass level.
- Organize artists
and writers groups to visit Gujarat and spend time with the children
in the camps. -- Indian Social Sciences Institute, 9 July 2002