2002 riot victims demand ban on NGOs in Gulberg Society



Ahmedabad: Over a dozen surviving victims of the Gulberg society riots have sought a ban on NGOs from organising annual event on February 28 as a mark of solidarity to the people who lost their lives during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Fifteen people, who were living in Gulberg society when a violent mob attacked and killed 69 people including ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, on February 28, 2002, submitted a letter to the city Police Commissioner yesterday in this regard.

The letter, signed by 15 people who still have houses there, also sought adequate security at Gulberg society on February 28.

"We request you to kindly provide sufficient security in our society to prevent these NGOs and outsiders from entering there to organise programmes in and around our society on February 28, so that on that day we are allowed to pay homage peacefully to our near and dear ones," reads the letter.

Without naming any NGO in the letter, the victims alleged that the organisations, which were regularly holding such events at their society for past 10 years, were "involved in making money for themselves in the name of providing financial support."

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an NGO of social activist Teesta Setalvad, which is active in providing legal assistance to the victims of 2002 post-Godhra riots, organises different programmes every year at the Gulberg society to show solidarity with the families of the victims.

"From the false promises given by these NGOs during the last ten years, it is proved beyond doubt that these NGOs and outsiders are involved in making money for themselves in the name of providing financial support to us by projecting us in poor condition," the victims have alleged in the letter.

"Every year after such functions, various schemes for rehabilitation of victims, financial support and/or support for reconstruction of houses are announced by these NGOs which are never implemented," they further alleged in the letter.

"Long back, one of these NGOs even promised to purchase all the damaged houses of our society at the current market price to convert the same into a museum. But during the last ten years nothing happened," they alleged.

Signatories of the two-page letter include Saeedkhan Pathan and Imtiyazkhan Pathan, who are prime witness victims of the Gulberg Society massacre case, trial of which is pending before a special court.

PTI