Manas Dasgupta

Their demands include justice for all, protection for witnesses

  • To send their demands to President, Prime Minister
  • Adequate compensation sought

    AHMEDABAD: With both fear and anger in their eyes, survivors of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat poured out their frustration at the "denial of justice" to them in the last five years.

    The riot-affected had gathered at the Gujarat Vidyapith here under the aegis of the "Sach ki Yadein, Yadon ka Sach," an umbrella organisation formed by over 25 voluntary organisations to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the post-Godhra riots. Their number surpassed the estimates of the organisers. More than 6,000 people from different riot-affected parts of the State turned up to narrate their experience.

    Teesta Setalvad, convener of the Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace, said more than 6,000 signatures were collected on a 10-point demand of the riot-affected which would be sent to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leaders of various political parties. The demands included ensuring proper justice for all, protection for witnesses in various riot cases against threats from fundamentalist elements and adequate compensation to the affected.

    Asserting that there could be no lasting peace until justice was done to the riot-affected, the gathering took oath in the name of Mahatma Gandhi to fight peacefully to ensure that the perpetrators of crime were punished. Many speakers complained that even after five years, they were unable to return to their homes as an atmosphere of hatred prevailed among the members of the rival community. Among those who attended the "hearing" of the survivors were Zakia Jafri, wife of the former Congress member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri, who was among those burnt alive in Gulberg Society, and Rupa Modi, mother of the missing boy whose story the film "Parzania" tells.