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‘Teesta Setalvad minting money in riot victims’ name’

Several residents of the Gulberg Society have accused activist Teesta Setalvad.

Zeenews Bureau

Ahmedabad: Several residents of the Gulberg Society have accused activist Teesta Setalvad of collecting donations in the name of riot victims but failing to utilise them for their benefit.

Gulberg Society was attacked by a violent mob during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat and Setalvad’s NGO has been collecting donations for the welfare of the society’s residents. 69 people including ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed in the attack.

Twelve residents have sent a joint notice to Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP).

The notice, which has been made public, says it has come to light through RTI queries that Setalvad has "collected huge donations from national and international organisations in the name of providing financial assistance for reconstruction of houses or developing the society into a museum".

"But despite collecting foreign donation of Rs 63 lakh in the account of CJP and Rs 88 lakh in the account of Sabrang Trust, nothing has been passed on to the members of society..." it added.

The surviving victims, in a separate letter to the city Police Commissioner, have also sought a ban on the NGO from organising annual event on February 28 as a mark of solidarity to the people who lost their lives during the 2002 riots.

"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," the letter reads.

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 10 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 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 10 years nothing happened," they alleged.

(With PTI inputs)