Monday, July 19, 2010

Riot victim exposes Riot Relief Scam in Gujarat

The agony continues for survivors of the 2002 riots in Panderwada, whose houses were razed by killer mobs. Even the much-delayed compensation for them was systematically pilfered and they are left pinning their hopes on the judiciary now. A taluka of 60-odd villages, Panderwala now awaits the Gujarat High Court’s verdict — expected on Monday — on five taluka development officials who allegedly siphoned off funds from riot rehabilitation packages meant for the victims. Earlier, the High Court had passed orders in favour of a petition filed by one Dr J B Panesuria, an Ayurvedic practitioner who is also an observer of the All India Anti Corruption and Human Rights Watch. Based on the petition, the court had ordered an inquiry. In 2005, Panesuria filed an application under the Right to Information Act with the Taluka Development Office and Postal Department after suspecting a scam in the distribution of the relief funds. The family of one of his associates, Shamshuddin Ahmed Saiyed, who passed away in 1989, had suffered during the riots. The family home and a tea stall set up by his wife were burnt down by a mob on February 26, 2002. Although, Shamshuddin’s son Mayuddin Ahmed received Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation he was aghast when people who were left untouched by the mobs started getting cheques.

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