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2002 Gujarat riots: Gulbarg Society residents, Teesta Setalvad caught in a cash dispute


Meghdoot Sharon, Gaurav Shah, CNN-IBN
Mar 01, 2013 at 10:10am IST

Ahmedabad: It's been 11 years since the Godhra riots, but apart from waiting for justice, victims' families are now facing what they call another injustice. At a function marking 11 years of the riots, at Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society, activist Teesta Setalvad was missing from the memorial service. The human rights activist finds herself at the receiving end after a set of Gulbarg Society residents sent her a notice, asking her to distribute funds collected by her among the riot victims.

Sharif Shaikh, a Gulbarg Society resident, said, "This money has been collected over the dead bodies of those who died in this society. It's not your money." Another resident Firozkhan Pathan said, "Divide the money collected among riot victims. It has been taken in our name." Saeedkhan Pathan, another resident, added, "It amounts to cheating. We did not know a trust has been formed."

The row dates back to 2006 when Setalvad had proposed to purchase the 5,200 square metre Gulbarg Society land from the residents to set up a museum of resistance through her trust. However, with property prices escalating, residents now want a larger sum. The deal fell through, but Setalvad's trust had already collected donations.

Gulbarg Society resident Tanvir Jafri said, "They had expressed inability to pay the rates that members were asking for and so the society has passed a resolution that individuals can sell their houses."

The Gulbarg judgement is still awaited, but differences between riot victims over the property have only begun.

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