Indian NGOs demand setting up of Gujarat Chapter of Human Rights Commission

Those assembled all concurred the need of a rights panel for State
( [email protected] ) Dec 15, 2003 12:46 PM EST

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India., Dec. 15 - Representatives of various Non-Government Organisations have voiced their demand, on the occasion of observing World Human Rights Day, for setting up of the Gujarat chapter of Human Rights Commission. They gathered at Sardar Baug at Lal Darwaja in the city last Wednesday and demanded setting up of the Rights panel following the Gujarat carnage that left thousands dead and an equal number homeless.

As many as 18 bishops from Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat also attended a dharna held at the park to show solidarity with the event.

The event was held by Movement for Secular Democrary, Sanchetna, People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group. It attracted a modest crowd, mainly of women. Issues concerning women’s rights, rights of minorities, rights of earthquake-affected persons and rights of infants were focussed at the dharna.

The bishops of the Western Region Catholic Bish Bishops Council expressed concern at the violation of human rights. Bishop Thomas Macwan of Ahmedabad underlined the need for non-violence, love and compassion, "epitomised by Jesus and Gandhi", to become the mainstay of the struggle for justice.

Archbishop Abraham of Nagpur, who is also chairperson of the Council, called upon every citizen to work hand in hand to usher in a society where rights of all persons, irrespective of their religion, were respected.

Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Vasai, said human rights in Gujarat were violated in the recent past on a large scale. On behalf of the Bishops, he said they all were with the victims of rights violations.

Around 70 delegates of the All India Women’s Christian Council also attended the dharna. Human rights activist Suvarnaben exhorted women present to think seriously about controlling the number of their children and grandchildren. "It is only among monied families that family planning was observed while the poor are multiplying just to provide servants for the rich," she said.

Abhinava Shukla, another activist, said it was time to restore the human status itself before raising voice for protection of human rights.

Arifbhai, a resident of Juhapura for past 30 years, narrated the plight of people living in his area.

He said that these people had been driven away from different parts of the city after the riots. Living in sub-human conditions, they were even branded as undesirable elements, he lamented.