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India: Text of Memo to Haryana govt following communal violence in Ballabgarh

30 May 2015

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The Resident Commissioner
Govt of Haryana
Haryana Bhawan
Copernicus Marg
New Delhi

Memorandum

Demand Justice to the Muslim Victims of violence by the dominant Jat caste in Atali, Ballabhgarh, Haryana

We, the undersigned comprising of human rights, women activists, advocates and concerned citizens of India from different Civil Society organizations and all those in support of the cause of marginalized people, strongly condemns the communal violence against the Muslim community of Atali, Ballabhgarh by the dominant caste Jats in on 25th of May 2015.

We draw your attention…to the extreme violence, physical attacks on Muslim men and women, burning and looting of homes and shops and total apathy of the administration towards the victims of the Muslim community. We stand here because Muslim women and men have been assaulted, their homes, properties, businesses attacked, looted and burnt down and denied justice. We stand here because the police has so far not arrested any of the accused.

Atali village in Ballabhgarh Tehsil of Faridabad district has become the latest theatre of Anti Muslim carnage in the series of such incidents which have rippled across the country in the last year which was marked by the announcement of ’achche din’ for all Indians.

The story line is the same. Muslims begin building a mosque, in this case Atali Jama Masjid. A stay order is obtained from the local court. The case drags for 5 years. Meanwhile nearby a Hindu temple has been built. When the stay is vacated, Muslims build scaffolding and begin work. Just as they are about to lay the roof, a well planned attack on the Muslim community takes place which is executed with precision and with connivance of the local police. Hindu groups claim that the dispute still persists and there was no order to vacate. So taking law in their hands they begin the task of ’teaching them a lesson’. The police knows but remains a silent bystander.

Last night ANHAD’s visit to the Ballabhgarh City police station and the Atali village has revealed the facts which are often obfuscated both in official and media accounts. Facts and only facts have to become the basis for immediate action by Haryana State.

What is being seen as spontaneous action of inflamed Jat youth on Monday morning was not that. It was brewing for a few days, the first stirrings of which were felt as early as Friday when the Muslims assembled for Juma prayers. The police were in the know and deliberately ignored the tension. Their bias is evident in the fact that when the trouble was at its peak, instead of reinforcing the watch, the existing watch was actually with drawn. That places the police also in the circle of suspicion.

Atali is a small village with approximately 150 Muslim houses. It was easy for the marauders to identify the homes of Muslims. It were these houses which were targeted and burnt. The pattern of Gujarat 2002 was replicated on a smaller scale. Apart from our eyewitness account, this fact has been reported as well by media, detailing the burnt Muslim houses and shops on the small strip leading to the mosque site, which were selected and torched.

Such acts of violence and humiliation not only violate basic human rights of the Muslims but also reflect upon the highly communal feudal mindset that continues to prevail in our society. What essentially furthers such atrocities is the impunity that has continued in the cases of communal atrocities. We cannot forget how the perpetrators of violence against hundreds of Muslims in the massacres at Gujarat, Muzzafarnagar and many other places walked away unpunished. The silence of the larger society on the issue of communalism has contributed to the nurturing of this culture of communal atrocities, which has taken such an ugly face for the Muslims. Communalism and its implications for the minorities need to be acknowledged by all and condemned strongly.

Apathy of the state and bias of the police have rendered 400 Muslim women children and men homeless. ANHAD witnessed the sub human conditions in which they are existing in the City PS Ballabhgarh. Approximately 400 homeless people, are lying around in 45 degrees heat with almost no facilities. A few coolers after the NCM intervened and a tent , small food packets from charitable organizations is all that is available to them. 150 women with children are supposed to relieve themselves in two toilets. Their physical trials, quite apart from the mental agony, are phenomenal.

Haryana is the nation’s most prosperous state with the highest GSDP. Globally it aspires to become the lead in skill development and Make-in-India. This tragic, contrived and heinous incident which has been beamed across the world will be setback to its image in the eyes of the global business which shies away from places where conflict rages and life is cheap.

It is in everyone’s interest that the state gets into action and does what it is supposed to do anyway and which is its primary duty, protect life and property of its people. Having been unable to do that it needs to compensate for its failure.

We therefore demand the following measures to be taken immediately for relief of these afflicted residents of Haryana state.

1. Immediate arrest of all the accused involved as they may threat the family members of the victims and witnesses. All the accused should be identified and arrested at the earliest. Immediate filing of FIR’s against individuals who have been identified by the victims as perpetrators of violence. And follow up action by police to ensure quick trials and conviction. Arrest of the accused involved in attacks and looting and burning of Muslims their households and shops

2. Relief Camps be set up with decent facilities immediately for the 400 odd citizens languishing around the city PS. The word DECENT needs to be carried in letter and spirit, which includes toilet facility, maximum 20 per toilet. 24x7 water, both drinking and utility water. Coolers in each hall/room to withstand present extreme weather condition, regular food supply.

3. Assessment of damaged property with amounts of compensation defined and timeline for payment at the earliest at a rate which is commensurate with the living standard in Haryana state.

4. Trauma counselling for the afflicted persons specially women and children provided in the Camps with immediate effect, given the mental state of the victims

5. Medical teams to be stationed in camps with mandatory referral of patients to secondary and tertiary facilities as needed.

6. State to approach NGOs and civil society to start long term communal harmony programmes in Atali as well as in other villages and districts of Haryana so that this communal virus does not spread any further.

7. Right to worship and building places of worship is a fundamental right. We demand from the Haryana Govt to ensure and provide security so that Muslims can build the Mosque for which they have won the legal battle.

8. We demand creating an atmosphere in the village which is conducive of an early return of the victims with dignity and respect.

9. We demand a judicial probe into the whole incident to ensure this kind of communal violence does not spread to other parts of Haryana.

10. Effective protection to the family members of the injured and other victims whose houses and shops have been looted and burnt.

11. Adequate police security should be deployed to monitor violence and ensure peace in the village.

We request you to consider our demands as most urgent and take appropriate action. This will initiate faith among the ordinary people, especially the weaker sections of our society on the provisions of our protective laws mandated by the Constitution. Further, this will protect them from the oppressive dominant socio-economic system. We are herewith submitting this memorandum for promotion of justice, equity and protection of human rights in society.

Thank you for considering our recommendations and demands. We would appreciate learning about any steps that you take in this regard.

Yours sincerely

Shabnam Hashmi-Anhad, Maimoonah Mollah- AIDWA, Ali Anwar-JDU, Ramzan Choudhry, Asad Ashraf, Annie Raja- NFIW, Apoorvanand, Ovais Sultan, Paul Divakar-NCDHR, Navaid Hamid- MOEMIN, Anant-JNUSU, Yogesh- Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Varuni, Disha, Sanjay Sharma, Pratap Singh Negi, Mohd Aamir, Manan Trivedi-Anhad , Namaldar Ishaque & 100 victims from Atali , Ballabhgarh

On behalf of the following civil society, women, human rights , minority and Dalit organisations:
AIDWA, DELHI, AIMBCF, AIPWA, AISA, AKHIL BHARTIYA DALIT MUSLIM MAHASANGH, ALL INDIA DALIT MAHILA ADHIKAR MANCH, ALL INDIA MUSLIM PASMANDA MAHAZ, ANHAD, JNUSU, MOEMIN, MWF, NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR DALIT HUMAN RIGHTS, NFIW, PUCL, UNITED CHRISTIAN FORUM

New Delhi: May 30, 2015

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see some accompanying photos by Mukul Dube

the full lot is here: https://tinyurl.com/nlb3m2c