The 2002 communal riots not only drove Muslims into new ghettos all over the state, they also reduced them to the status of second-class citizens who do not seem to exist for the government. This is the finding of a city-based NGO, Janvikas, which conducted a survey on the status of the minority community in the state after the riots.
The survey has revealed that Muslims are the new outcastes who, more often than not, are denied basic facilities which are available to people of other communities. Not only that. It appears that this neglect of the community is officially sanctioned for the riot victims find no mention in government records as people who need help.
The neglect of the minority community is evident even in efforts to resettle them as little has been done to provide them access to government schemes, health facilities and loans.
About 16,000 Muslims displaced by the riots are still living in relief colonies that are denied even the most basic amenities.
The riots displaced more than 2 lakh people across the state.
These people remained displaced for almost two years after 2002. However, NGOs and Muslim relief organisations settled a total of 16087 people in 83 different relief colonies. “These are the people who cannot or dare not return to their original place of residence and have been living in shelters for the last 10 years,” said Vijay Parmar, CEO of Janvikas.
The 83 relief colonies that were built after the riots are almost all located in Muslim majority areas. Fifteen of them are situated in Ahmedabad and the support they receive from the state government is negligible.
"The government did next to nothing for creating awareness about social security schemes meant for Internally Displaced People (IDP)," said Khatunben, a resident of Citizen Nagar, a relief colony in Ahmedabad.
The houses in which the displaced people have been living since 2002 have not been formally transferred to their names.
There has also been a sharp decline in the earnings of almost every displaced individual. The survey has revealed that the average annual income of displaced Muslims in Ahmedabad has come down by 31% as compared to their income before the riots.