Dalit leader and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday said that he would work for restoring ownership rights of the land of the victims of the 2002 riots who have been rehabilitated by the NGOs.
Speaking at an event to mark the 16th anniversary of the 2002 riots in Ahmedabad, Mevani said: “The NGOs which helped the riot victims and made houses for them contributed greatly for their temporary relief. All these organisations often call me to speak at events across the country. I want to tell them that till you do not get the ownership rights of the houses to the victims, they should not call me to their functions.”
He was speaking at an event organised by Alpasankhyak Adhikar Manch, a city-based NGO, which had organised a gathering of those displaced during the riots, who are mostly from the Muslim community, here.
“From 2002 to 2018, no justice has been delivered to those displaced by the riots. People who spoke here today said that there has been no help. But nothing remains like a stone. In the last three years, people have come together no matter what pain they have suffered… Out of the 83 rehabilitated colonies of the riot victims, if we get 15 to 20 persons from each colony and form a team then I will see who does not let us get into the Assembly. The next five years are ours,” said Mevani.
He also proposed to put together 17 demands each of the Dalit community, Muslims and tribals. “These 51 demands will be presented before Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, and if there is no assurance that they will be met, then we will not let him garland any statue of Baba Saheb on April 14,” Mevani added.
Around 3,000 families are living in 83 colonies built for their rehabilitation by various NGOs across nine districts, said advocate Shamshad Pathan of the Manch. Most of these residents are, however, yet to get legal ownership of their new houses, Pathan said.
These colonies were initially built as temporary shelters on the outskirts of cities and towns, but eventually they turned into permanent houses for the displaced people, the Manch said in a release. “This non-ownership has deprived them of various government schemes. They do not get loans as the houses are not in their names,” said Pathan. “Many of these colonies lack even the basic amenities, such as internal roads, street lights, schools, sewage lines, drinking water connections and hospitals,” he claimed.
Speaking at the event, social activist Gagan Sethi said that compensation has not been given to the riots survivors. “The matter has been thrown on the backburner. If the work does not start soon then let us make sure that notices are given to the authorities. I urge Mevani to make sure that the process of reaching out to the riot survivors starts soon,” Sethi added.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)
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