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Appeal for Contributions for Relief Camps in Assam

Over two lakh persons are still housed in relief camps in Dhubri, Chirang and districts of Lower Assam, in the wake of a series of violent clashes. This is down to about half the peak of nearly five lakh people in camps, making it one of the largest humanitarian emergencies in independent India. All these internally displaced persons fled from their villages in fear of violence, and many because their homes were torched and belongings looted. There is little hope that everyone will be able to return home in the immediate future.

The camps are lodged mostly in schools and college buildings; sometimes a few classrooms and a courtyard house a few thousand people. The state government assumed full responsibility for the camps, and its officials coped with the sudden explosion of the refugees. The state supplied food, some money for utensils and clothes, and ensured primary health protection.

So far the camp residents are only surviving on bare rice and dal everyday. They need at least a plastic sheet to sleep on and mosquito nets. The camps desperately require many more toilets and clean drinking water, the lack of which threatens epidemic outbreaks of cholera, gastro-enteritis and malaria.

Children suffer in many ways. There are no arrangements to study in the camps, and most students lost their books to the fires that consumed their homes. Since most camps are housed in schools and colleges, local students also cannot study.

The state and humanitarian agencies — the latter regrettably substantially absent so far — must help people return and rebuild their homes, schools and livelihoods. Children and young people must be assisted to resume their studies and normal life, without fear and dislocation.

The major duty for relief and rehabilitation lies with the central and state governments. But in a humanitarian emergency of this magnitude, it is important for people of goodwill everywhere to reach out to help and heal, to assist in relieving immediate suffering, but also as a gesture of solidarity and caring with the suffering people of both affected communities, the Bodos and Bengali Muslims.

In a very small initiative, humanist young people have decided to work together for relief and reconciliation. This initiative would be in collaboration with TISS Guwahati. Initially joint teams of young and Bengali Muslims will supply relief materials and services in the camps together. The initial focus is to support children and youth in these camps with textbooks, play things, clothes, etc, and women with clothes, sanitary napkins etc; and also utensils, treated mosquito nets etc.

We reiterate that this is a very small modest effort, and is not suggesting that this is contributing to any solution of a very complex and old problem. It is just intended as a very small gesture of collective caring. We have set a target to raise at least around 20 lakh rupees initially, to make a small tangible contribution.

We appeal to people of goodwill everywhere to contribute to this small effort. The entire money would be transferred to the joint youth group in Assam, to use entirely for purchase and distribution of relief material in both the Bodo and Bengali Muslim camps. The accounts will be managed by the Centre for Equity Studies, which will get these independently audited, and the audited accounts will be placed in the public domain.

We would also like to request you to widely circulate this appeal amongst your friends and family.

With best wishes,

Amita Joseph, Amitav Ghosh, Anu Aga, Aruna Roy, Avi Singh, Bela Bhatia, Biraj Patnaik, Dipa Sinha, Harsh Mander, Jean Drèze, Karuna Nundy, Kavita Srivastava, Mathew Cherian, Nandita Das, Nikhil Dey, Pervin Varma, Rahul Bose, Ram Punyani, Reeta Dev Barman, Ritu Priya, Sajjad Hassan, Sejal Dand, Sharmila Tagore, Vandana Prasad, Vijay Pratap and Warisha Farasat

For Aman Biradari

For further details, please contact
Jeevika Shiv (9899572770, [email protected]) or Ankita Aggarwal (9818603009, [email protected])

Details for donations

For Indian citizens

(Please mention the purpose of the donation while making the contribution and e mail your PAN card number and postal address [email protected])

Name of A/c: Aman Biradari Trust
Bank Name: IDBI Bank Limited
Branch: 1/6, Siri Fort Institution Area, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi 110049,
A/c No: 010104000156950, IFSC Code: IBKL0000010, BSR Code: 110259002

For foreign citizens

(Please mention the purpose of the donation while making the contribution and e mail a scanned copy of your passport and postal address to [email protected])

Name of Organization: Centre for Equity Studies
A/c Number: 4114000100539095, Swift Code: PUNBINBBISB, IFS Code: PUNB0411400
Name of Bank: Punjab National Bank
Branch Address: Plot No.7, C-1, Nelson Mandella Road, Vasant Kunj, 110070

Cheques can be mailed at:

Office of the Commissioners for Supreme Court

B 68, 2nd floor, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi 110017, India

For any financial queries, please contact Sunil Snehi (9811190160, [email protected])

All donations exempted u/s 80G of the I. T. Act, 1961 vide Letter No. DIT(E)/2011-12/C-693/3069 Dated 17 Oct 20122 issued by the Directorate of Income Tax Act (Exemption), Delhi for the period 1 April 2011 onwards

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