Neighbourhood Intervention BACK

Rehabilitating Riot Victims

urban_political01.jpg.pagespeed.ce.5nWaFpRwD5It was in 1992 that unprecedented riots shredded the cosmopolitan nature of Bombay.

We watched with horror the adjoining shops that were owned by Muslims, getting gutted, the surrounding Muslim majority slums being razed. And suddenly the gender issue became abstract and the identity politics became more complex and overwhelming. We and Majlis changed forever.

The desperation made us venture into works we were not even equipped to deal with. Majlis has never been an organisation involved in community works. But those were emergency days and we got involved with a slum called Rajunagar in Bandra, which was repeatedly gutted by Hindu goons during the 1992-93 riots.

With the help of a corporate house we re-built those huts only to be demolished again by the municipality authority on the pretext of legal technicalities. We ran from pillar to post, from local police stations to Mantralaya (State govt. office) for two years and received a piece of land of 1400 sq. meters in Dindoshi, Goregaon to rehabilitate the families of erstwhile Rajunagar. Countering high resistance from the government officials we managed to register the huts in the name of women of the families.

But for us, this project has brought forward many issues regarding community based social work, sustainable development and politics of aid.