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Mumbai riots: Victims' kin have lost faith in administration
September 23, 2007 14:51 IST
The National Commission for Minorities has found that relatives of the 1992 Mumbai riots victims have completely lost faith in the administration."Our Mumbai visit has been successful in two important ways. First, the state government agreed to initiate cases against 38 policemen indicted by the Srikrishna Commission, and secondly, it agreed to compensate the victims by an amount equal to the one given to victims of anti-Sikh riots of 1984," the chairperson observed.
The commission had recently visited Mumbai to pursue with the state government the implementation of the Srikrishna Report on the riots in which several policemen and local political figures had been indicted.
"We found that the administration has not only been apathetic but antagonastic to those who approached it for justice. Women told us that when they visited police stations after the riots in search of their brothers, husbands and sons, they were turned away by policemen and obscene language used against them," NCM chairperson Mohammad Shafi Qureshi told UNI.
The commission was told that the police did not give women the location of their arrested relatives, and they had to run from pillar to the post to know in which jail they had been put up. Sometimes, despite all their efforts they still could not get any information, and for months and years, they remained ignorant regarding their whereabouts.
"The non-implementation of the Srikrishna Report had lead to great discontent in the community, but I think the Maharashtra government, by deciding to open cases against the guilty named in the report, has taken a welcome step to restore the Muslims' faith in the administration," said Qureshi.
One more thing brought to the notice of the NCM was that the state minorities' commissions were not adequately responsive to the grievances of the people. Their processes were tardy and petitions of the aggrieved gathered dust for a long time for want of action.
"This time, we changed our modus operandi, and held public hearings to know first-hand what the people feel and have suffered. It is only after our direct interaction with the people that we met the chief minister and other senior officers of the government. That had a desired effect," he said.
From now on it will be the commission's policy not to hold closed-door meetings but to hold public hearings to let the aggrieved people express themselves in a spontaneous way, he added.
Besides Muslims, the commission also met Parsis and Sikhs in Mumbai, he said, adding that these communities too had a lot of grievances, which the NCM would address soon.
Answering questions about the powers of the commission, Qureshi said the NCM will exercise its power to summon people, whether high or mighty.
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