The human cost of Muzaffarnagar violence is mind numbing

Friends, the violence that recently engulfed Muzaffarnagar and some adjoining districts of western Uttar Pradesh was not only unfortunate but disturbing, too. While the discourse in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of violence was on the administration’s failure to contain it, the full extent of the human tragedy that followed weeks of rioting is only now beginning to engage the attention of the administration and the civil society alike.

Thousands have been rendered homeless … women have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence … girls have stopped venturing out leave alone go to school for fear of being attacked … entire families have been wiped out … and mistrust runs deep after neighbour turned on neighbour … the human cost of the Muzaffarnagar violence is simply mind numbing.

Several cases of rape have been registered with the local police. In some cases the accused were known to the survivor. But in the midst of all this gloom there are stories of hope and human spirit, too. For instance, it is heartening that some individuals have voluntarily decided to give land for the benefit of the riot-affected people and their rehabilitation. The land will be used for building a housing colony for the displaced people, a majority of whom have refused to return to their villages due to fear and insecurity.

Friends, I have always believed that communal violence or unrest is among the biggest challenges to national security. It is imperative that governments, be it at the Centre or in the States, remain sensitive to the concerns of the people and act in the interest of nation building and the public good. There is absolutely no room for partisanship in matters of governance, especially when it pertains to matters of communal harmony, peace and the very ethos of India.

As someone deeply committed to growth with equity, social justice and development, with particular focus on women’s empowerment, youth, education and health care, I believe that there is a need for a new vision and positive change in the way governments function. I stand for change and I will bring you change!!!

Jai Hind.

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