Ms. Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), addressed a packed Press Conference on Monday 19th November 2007 at PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace. She told the media in her characteristic blunt style, how the Citizens for Justice and Peace had visited several villages in the Panchmahal and Dahod Districts and also several parts of Ahmedabad city, to get a grassroot level feedback on issues related to security, justice and reparation to the victim survivors of the Gujarat Carnage of 2002 and of the way the people there still suffer.
Ms. Setalvad provided hard facts with concrete evidence of how the Gujarat Government
has simply ignored the condition of the riot victims. In Citizens Nagar for example, the residents face the perennial problem of acute unhygienic conditions; unclean water, with a high degree of salinity, no sewerage, no health facilities and no schooling. A similar condition is evident in Faizal Park, Vatwa and Siddiquibad, Juhapura. Ms. Setalvad shared with the media a representation which CJP had made to the Collector of Ahmedabad that day.
Several of the victim survivors were also present at the Conference. These included Rehana Banu, the mother of 13 year old Riaz Musafar Beig who lost his life in Citizens Nagar ten days ago, due to kidney failure which was caused by prolonged consumption of highly saline water "what can I do" she lamented. "There are absolutely no facilities which have been provided to us. The water is totally contaminated, there are no clinics or hospitals where we live, and not even a medical shop. The doctors in another hospital said that I would need more than 1.5 lacs to treat my son and I just could not afford that.".
It is almost six years since the Gujarat Carnage and even as another election draws near, the victim survivors have literally nowhere to go as the collective conscience of the State continues to be in a denial mode with a complete lack of remorse. However, Citizens for Justice and Peace continues its relentless struggle to focus on the truth and to ensure justice for the victim survivors.
For Citizens for Justice and Peace
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
20th November 2007