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India: 30 days and counting… - The aftermath of violence in Muzaffarnagar & Shamli Districts, Uttar Pradesh | report by Joint Citizens’ Initiative (JCI)

13 October 2013

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30 days and counting… The aftermath of violence in Muzaffarnagar & Shamli Districts, Uttar Pradesh

MAIN OBSERVATIONS & CHARTER OF DEMANDS

to

Government of Uttar Pradesh

and

Government of India

by the Joint Citizens’ Initiative (JCI)
comprising women’s rights activists, health and medical professionals, and lawyers from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Mumbai

Organizations represented on the JCI field team were Astitva (Muzaffarnagar), Forum Against Oppression of Women (Mumbai), Humsafar (Lucknow), National Alliance of People’s Movements, Nirantar (Lucknow & New Delhi), Rehnuma-Sanatkada Samajik Pahel (Lucknow), Sahayog (Lucknow), Sama (New Delhi) and Vanangana (Chitrakoot).

The team was supported for report writing by independent women’s rights activists (JCI, Delhi & Lucknow)

Initial Visits: September 24-25, 2013

Follow up visits towards this report and towards helping survivors are continuing…

Press release: Lucknow, October 11, 2013

Introduction

At the time of writing, several credible fact-finding visits by activists, academics, and concerned citizens from across India have taken place to the violence affected districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. We wish to acknowledge these reports and endorse many of their recommendations.1 Now, a month after the violence, it is time to move beyond recommending to pressing for these demands, for the situation on the ground, over 30 days after the first incidents of violence (September 8th, 2013), is so grave that the State must act now.

Internally displaced people are still living in camps. A few are leaving in desperation, but not always returning home. The possibilities of securing State accountability for its abdication become weaker with each passing day. FIRs are being filed, but many accused are not being arrested. Camps are still being run by citizens and not the State. Reports are coming in of deaths in camps (many of them children) due to illness, poor hygiene, and the complete lack of medical care. The aftermath of violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli is similar to what we have witnessed in Gujarat 2002 and in Assam in 2012. Reparative justice is miles away. The death toll maybe counted, and minimally compensated for as ex-gratia, but the scores who have lost everything else, are left scattered to the winds. Their life’s meagre belongings taken from them; family members still missing; homeless and without livelihoods; their properties usurped and their mental and physical health destroyed; the possibilities of rebuilding lives, remote and fragile. And no one is held accountable for this slow destruction of lives. The State continues to be in denial.

Listening to women voices: The JCI (Joint Citizens’ Initiative) is a collective of activists based in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Mumbai, many of whom are continuing to work in the relief camps. Our focus in this summary of observations and charter of demands is the immediate needs of survivors, especially women.

Camps visited: Bassikalan Madrasa Camp, Kamalpur Camp, Tavli Madrasa Camp, Shahpur Madrasa Camp, Jogi Khera Camp, Shahpur Madrasa at Haji Ala Sahab’s residence, Husainpur Camp, Loi Camp (Muzaffarnagar district), Kandla Eidgah in Kandla village (Shamli district),.

Villages visited: Phugana, Lisarh and Kutba-Kutbi villages in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts.2

The team met survivors, members of management committees of relief camps, and local residents from both Muslim and Jat Communities.

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30 days and counting...: The aftermath of violence in Muzaffarnagar & Shamli Districts, Uttar Pradesh
by the Joint Citizens’ Initiative (JCI)
released on 11 October 2013 in Lucknow.