Heinous criminal acts perpetrated on the afternoon of 24th October, 2014 on the local Banjara community by hundreds of local men in Thanagazi district which affected the whole colony, and wherein children, women and elderly were pushed into their burning homes by the aforementioned and as a result of this atrocity, continue to suffer from trauma and wounds from third degree burns .
See the pic below
A fact finding team visited the Banjara Basti five days after this incident on the afternoon of 29th October, 2014 and met with the families of the victims along with local officials. Through the testimonies and photographic evidence, we have documented serious human rights violations, and the investigation is ongoing by Rajasthani authorities.
The Rajasthan police have arrested 17 of the miscreants and launched FIRs against 59 of the perpetrators and this is a first step towards achieving justice for the victims.
But the ground reality in the Banjara Basti is bleak – dozens of homes were set alight by the ruthless mob and all that remains are ashes; children and women still have open wounds on which pus was noticed, and they have been left unattended without proper medical facilities (when the severe cases were referred to a Jaipur hospital, they were evidently refused treatment).
Many young children and women have undergone psychological trauma which is visible on their faces. The local school run by a charity was completely burnt and would need to be rebuilt at the earliest, so that the community can begin to heal.
The Rajasthani Banjara have been long-term residents of the basti for more than 35 years, and the families have ration cards; both women and men of the community also contribute to the local economy as day labourers. For them to be driven out by this vigilante mob (who mercilessly used latthis, large stones and other implements to scare innocent women and children, and set fire to their homes with petrol cans) is a very serious and unacceptable human rights violation, and is a shame upon our great nation.
We respectfully request on an URGENT basis the following:
- Immediate medical attention, especially for children, elderly and serious burn victims (who have experienced shock and trauma since 24th October, 2014). Out of cultural considerations for the community, it is requested that a lady doctor be sent on-site to treat the burn victims, along with a burns expert from an Alwar hospital who would monitor their medical treatment from the basti itself. Victims whose burns are severe may be evacuated to a specialized burns treatment clinic in NCR as needed (eg. Safdarjung government hospital, South Delhi).
- Security to be provided by local police/law enforcement against any future attacks or threats to residents of Banjara Basti. Authorities of Rajasthan are urged to take all necessary measures for ensuring peace and conflict resolution amongst local communities.
- Nutritious food provision, including fruits and vegetables for the children.
- Proper (clean cotton) clothing for safe recovery of wounds and clothes/blankets for winter.
- Compensation for losses suffered by the above mentioned victims. A complete list is being generated for the same, and will be handed over to officials in due course. It is kindly requested that claims should be processed quickly for the victims and their families.
Gajraaj Singh, President of Bhartiya Banjara Mahasabha, Gurgaon, Haryana, (mob. 09871509788)
Dr. Nidhi Trehan, Gurgaon, Haryana, Political Scientist and human rights activist, [email protected] (mob. 08860851593)
Prof. (Dr.) BR Shymala Devi Rathore, Kakatiya University (Retd.) (Warangal, Telangana) Social Action Research Professor and social activist, [email protected] (mob. 09848863424)