IX. RELIEF AND REHABILITATION
by the National Commission for Minorities after its visit to Gujarat,
October 13-17, 2006
In August 29, 2006, social
activists filed complaints before the National Commission for
Minorities.They pointed out that more than 5,000 Muslim families in
Gujarat are staying in makeshift colonies in four districts of Gujarat. In
view of the tense situation in their original place of residence, these
people are unable to return. In the absence of basic amenities like safe
drinking water, drainage, health education, etc, the condition of those
living in these colonies is pitiable. They therefore requested the NCM to
make a first-hand assessment of the entire issue by visiting the camps and
to issue suitable directives to the government on the basis of their
A team from NCM visited a
large number of camps including those in the districts of Panchmahal,
Dahod, Sabarkantha and the city of Ahmedabad.
The findings of the NCM are
a sign of the apathy and indifference of the state government towards its
own people and its unwillgnessness to help these internally displaced
persons return to their homes and livelihood. The main observations of the
There was overwhelming
evidence that there continue to be large numbers of internally displaced
Muslim families in Gujarat who are living in sub human conditions in
colonies constructed entirely by NGOs.
They are not there
by choice but because they are unable to return to their original
place of habitation.
There has been no
support from the state to compensate them for their loss of habitual place
of residence and normal livelihood or provide basic services and
livelihood options to allow them to live with dignity in their present
There has been no
attempt to secure a safe environment or facilitate their return to their
Local Muslim organisers
who have tried to procure some rights and entitlements for these displaced
survivors have found themselves the targets of threat and harassment by
the local police.
Far from admitting that
the inmates were in fact ‘internally displaced persons’, the authorities
argued that they have chosen to willingly remain in the camps even after
some of their family members had returned to their original habitation
where they continued to live and ply their trades in absolute security.
The NCM team found such reasoning to be erroneous.
The persons staying in
homes in these relief camps lived in abject poverty. With some
exceptions, the houses contained little except for bedding and kitchen
utensils. Further, the NCM found that many residents did not have
The residents of
these colonies fear to return to the places they had fled from partly
because they have nothing left back home to return to and partly because
many of them had been eyewitnesses to murders, arson and looting during
the communal violence.
(Reference: “Need of the
hour” Communalism Combat, July 2007: Part II)
See Link to Full text of the Report of the NCM, 2006