‘Those who are still in transit camps should not be evicted'

Amnesty International on Thursday said that ten years after the Gujarat riots “an overwhelming majority” of the victims were still awaiting justice and urged the authorities to ensure adequate compensation to all those who lost their homes.

Those who were still living in transit camps should not be evicted, it said.

“The majority of the perpetrators of the Gujarat violence walk free, assuming that they will not be punished by the State institutions which have simply failed to ensure justice for the victims. The fact that more than 2,000 people can be murdered and the lives of thousands of others shattered in Gujarat with only a small number of the perpetrators brought to justice is offensive to any notion of justice,” it said in a statement.

Investigation and trial processes made headway only in “a handful of cases,” it said adding: “The special team, which was the only one to have probed allegations that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party played a key role in facilitating the riots, referred to his speeches as ‘sweeping and offensive,' but cited lack of evidence to proceed against him.”

At least 21,000 persons were still in transit relief camps awaiting relocation. They were now facing “forced evictions” as the State authorities were now claiming that the land on which the camps were set up belonged to the government and that they would have to vacate them, it said.

“For the relatives of the victims and survivors, this has been an excruciating process of being promised justice and watching India's institutions break their promises again and again. All those responsible for the killings and gender-based violence including rape must be brought to justice — whether they are political leaders, police or government officials,'' it demanded.

“Amnesty International calls on the authorities to improve their response to victims of gender-based violence, including witness protection. The authorities should challenge the stigma and stereotyping affecting women and girl survivors of rape. These women and girls, and the family members of those killed, should be provided with full reparation: rehabilitation, restitution, compensation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.”

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