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Letter to Minorities Commission on Muzaffarangar Relief camps and rehabilitation

 

To
The Chairperson
Minorities Commission, New Delhi

We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the continuing insecurity, hardships and distress faced by the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar who have been living in makeshift since they were forced out of their homes in September 2013.

Thousands of families who were sheltering in makeshift camps were forced onto  the streets when the sites were bulldozed in December 2013. The few camps that remain are also now threatened with closure.

We note with outrage that the government that did not protect the lives and properties of these families, and has done absolutely nothing to ensure either their safe return to their homes or their rehabilitation in alternate sites, is now washing its hands of all responsibility for their survival by criminalising them as “illegal occupants of government land.”


Most of the families living on the roadside for the last six months have received no compensation or any substantial support from either the state government or the central government. Women’s groups and citizens collectives have been providing some support to these families with their limited resources, but the government has completely ignored its duty of compensating and rehabilitating them.
 

These families are living in extremely insecure, unhealthy and inhuman circumstances. The monsoon will increase their distress, with children, old people, ill people and pregnant women being rendered even more vulnerable than they are already.

As concerned citizens we demand that the camps be retained until all these families are assured of rehabilitation in safe and adequate locations. We demand that the government ensure the provision of rations and basic services at all the camps – whether formally recognised or informal/self-built shelters.

 We demand to know:

– What compensation has been given to the survivors of the violence? How has the quantum of this compensation been decided? How many claims remain to be settled?

– What support has he government provided to the survivors for rebuilding their lives?

– How many FIRs have been lodged? How many people have been booked for their role in the violence?

 

– What is the government doing to pursue the cases of sexual violence against women that have already been filed?

– What measures has the government taken to ensure the safety and protection from intimidation of those who have filed cases? 

We look to you to take pro-active steps to ensure that camps and informal sites where survivors are sheltering are protected and that adequate services are put in place before the monsoons.

We also hope that you will make sure that the government does not abdicate its responsibility for long-term support and rehabilitation of riot victims. This responsibility cannot be passed on to civil society groups – it is the job of the state.


Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is a non funded grassroots effort started in November 2009, to put an end to the violence being perpetrated upon our bodies and societies. We are a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. We unequivocally condemn state repression and sexual violence on our women and girls by any perpetrator(s).

 

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