People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Gujarat's Agony Persists
Survey Findings Confirm Everything About The Genocide
WITH the aim of collecting first hand information about the degree of property damage, extent of compensation given to victims, attitude of police and neighbours during the violence, and to seek details of caste and political affiliation of the attackers among other things, Sahmat with the active support of Ahmedabad based Prashant undertook a detailed survey in two districts of Gujarat - Panchmahals and Dahod.
The findings of this survey not only confirm all that has come to light so far regarding the Gujarat genocide but also provide irrefutable evidence of state government's complete apathy in providing rehabilitation to the victims. While the total loss of immovable property in these two districts was estimated at Rs. 47.8 crores, the compensation given by the state government to the victims was just 5 per cent of it. The findings show that the attitude of the police has not changed a wee bit in the last five months and they continue to refuse to register any complaint which mentions the names of the perpetrators of the violence.
The survey report titled 'State of Ruins' was released at a press conference in Delhi on July 23, which was addressed by Gauhar Raza, Professor Zoya Hasan and actress Sharmila Tagore. The survey was conducted in four days, from July 8 - 11 and involved about 100 enumerators. They interviewed more than 3500 family heads, which constituted about 60 per cent of the victims registered in the relief camps. The report was authored by Shabnam Hashmi and Gauhar Raza of Sahmat.
Responding to questions from media persons, Gauhar Raza stressed that holding elections now in Gujarat would deprive large section of population from participating in the polls. Apart from the entire minority community which would be kept away from the booths, there is the danger of large sections of uncommitted middle class voters staying away from the polls out of fear of violence. He reiterated that the situation in Gujarat was far from normal, especially in the rural areas of the state, where suffering continues without reprieve.
Professor Zoya Hasan said that the findings emphatically confirm that the attacks were premeditated and well organised. They cannot be construed as a spontaneous reaction to any incident. Organising bands of 1000 to 10,000 attackers requires long duration planning and organisational machinery. She said that absence of violence was not an indication of normalcy.
Some of the main findings of the survey are:
The report says "The objective of the carnage, quite clearly, was two-fold, firstly, to loot, burn and completely destroy all the shops owned by the Muslims and secondly, to force them out of their habitat. Both the targets were efficiently achieved."