November 24, 2013

AIDWA Holds Convention on Muzaffarnagar

Amol Saghar THE Delhi state committee of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) held, on November 12, 2013, a convention on the Muzaffarnagar riots. Held in the Constitution Club in the centre of New Delhi, the convention was addressed by Sudha Sudaraman, all-India general secretary of the AIDWA; Harsh Mander, Shabnam Hashmi and AIDWA vice president Jagmati Sangwan. The convention also saw the presence of seven victims, including two rape victims, of the riots; they had come all the way from Muzzafarnagar. The convention provided a public platform to these people to express their anger and anguish for the first time since the ghastly occurrence took place. Azra Qureshi, a nine years old girl who was brutalised in the violence, was also present on the occasion. She was bought to Delhi and admitted in the AIIMS Trauma Centre, and her treatment was done with help and support from the AIDWA. She had got discharged on the same day and was, therefore, present in the convention. Harsh Mander, in his short but crisp speech, argued that communal politics had a major role in dividing the society and that, unfortunately, the fight which should aim for the betterment of life is being weakened as a result of the communalisation which such sort of divisive politics encourages. Shabnam Hashmi, predicting a bleak future ahead, forewarned all those present that as elections draw nearer and nearer one would witness an increase in communal polarisation in the country and that there would be a sharp increase in instances of communal violence — a trade mark of BJP’s divisive politics. One should, therefore, be alert and fight this sort of politics whenever the need arises. Sudha Sundaraman, in her turn, drew the attention of the participants to the fact that women were most severely affected by any communal violence. Women have always been the primary victims of such sort of violence. Jagmati Sangwan threw light on the fact that whenever the downtrodden get united there are attempts by divisive forces to divide them and make them fight among themselves on issues like caste. Following the speakers, the victims of the violence came forward to narrate the ordeals they had suffered. Expressing their anguish, they said that even though cases with FIRs had been registered, still there have been no arrests in any of the cases. This has not sent any good message to the people of the region. Since no justice has been delivered till now, there is a sense of insecurity among them. The victims further said that even though several of them wanted to go back home, they cannot go back as there is a sense of insecurity prevailing in the region; their houses have been destroyed and their source of income have been cruelly snatched from them. There is no point going to a place which can, instead of giving a sense of security and livelihood, make them still more vulnerable and scared. With these narrations, the important and insightful convention came to a conclusion. It should be mentioned that prior to the commencement of the programme a delegation of the AIDWA leadership, which also included seven people from Muzaffarnagar, had met the chairman of the Minority Commission, Wajahat Habibullah. Significantly, the chairman met the delegation along with full bench of the commission. They heard in detail the delegation’s viewpoint and discussed each and every case presented by it. The leadership emphasised on the fact that arrests should be made at any costs and at the earliest. The chairman gave assurances to the delegation and said that his commission would speak to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and ask the UP government to expedite the process of justice in the state. Following the conclusion of the convention, the delegation also met CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat. He gave a patient hearing to the delegation and also heard the experiences narrated by the victims. Karat gave an assurance for speedy rehabilitation of the victims and said that he would speak to the UP government and pressurise it to make arrests at the earliest so that a sense of security could return back in the region, which would help victims of the dance of violence to resume their normal course of life. Karat also said that it is important to fight this sort of divisive communal politics and that his party was trying to bring other secular and non-divisive forces on a common platform to fight it.