Gujarat 2002 Pogrom Condemned by City of Harvey, Illinois Resolution

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City Council of Harvey, Illinois, USA passes resolution expressing solidarity with the victims of 2002 Gujarat Pogrom in their struggle for justice on its tenth anniversary. City Council also condemned horrific mass killings as a gross violation of human rights and a failure of law and order machinery in the State of Gujarat, India.

Prayer for Victims of 2002 Gujarat Pogrom at Mayor Eric J Kellogg's Office of Harvey, Illinois

Prayer for Victims of 2002 Gujarat Pogrom at Mayor Eric J Kellogg's Office of Harvey, Illinois

The fact that such horrific violence took place in the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the ambassador of peace and harmony, is especially shameful.

The Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has welcomed the passing of a resolution in the City Council of Harvey, Illinois, USA on the solemn occasion of the tenth anniversary of the horrific mass killings in the state of Gujarat, India. The waves of massacres that engulfed Gujarat starting in February 2002 claimed the lives of over 2,000 people, were accompanied by brutal sexual violence against hundreds of women and displaced over 150,000 people from their homes. According to Human Rights Watch Report of 2002, there were patterns of “…local and state government complicity in the attacks, and the failure of the government to meet its constitutional and international obligations to protect minorities.”

Council members passed Resolution 2629 unanimously, commemorating the victims of the Gujarat pogrom, during the City Council Meeting on March 26, 2012. The resolution also expressed solidarity with the victims, including those who died in the Godhra train fire on February 27, 2002. Mayor Eric Kellogg presided over the meeting, attended by four other voting council members, as well as members of the public.

The city’s resolution comes in the wake of resolution HRES 569 introduced in the House by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) calling on the government of Gujarat to restore religious freedom and expressing concern over the state government’s alleged complicity in the mass killings. Indian Americans across the US held nationwide candlelight vigils in March to commemorate the Gujarat pogrom and demand justice and reparation for the victims.

“The Harvey City Council condemns the Gujarat Pogrom of 2002 as a gross violation of human rights and a failure of the law and order machinery in the State of Gujarat,” states the resolution. The Council also expressed concern that “despite worldwide horror and condemnation, the surviving victims have been denied justice and due process.” There have been very few arrests and even fewer convictions arising out of the cases registered during and after the mass killings.

“There are times when events in far-flung parts of the world not only move our hearts, but strengthen our resolve to always stand up for truth and justice. The horrific massacres that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 is one such event,” said Harvey City Mayor Eric Kellogg in a historic speech after the passing of the resolution. “The fact that such horrific violence took place in the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the ambassador of peace and harmony, is especially shameful,” Mayor Kellogg added. He also praised the Indian American community in Harvey for their contributions in the field of relief, charity and social services, and resolved to raise funds for the victims of the Gujarat pogrom.
“The citizens of Harvey have demonstrated their commitment to the values instilled by the great leaders of this nation such as Dr. King and Rosa Parks,” said Jawad Khan, Executive Committee member of IAMC, in his speech at the City Council.

“The resolution passed by the City of Harvey demonstrates that the upholding of human rights and the defense of human dignity are universal concerns that transcend national boundaries and geographic location,” said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC. “The Gujarat Pogrom of 2002 was an attack on our common human values, and the struggle for justice and reparation for the victims is thus an international issue,” added Mr. Khateeb.

The Tom Lantos Commission for Human Rights heard testimonies on March 21, 2012 from two Indian Americans on human rights violations in different parts of India including Gujarat. The testimonies presented a starkly different picture of Gujarat than the one painted by the recent TIME cover story and the Brookings Institution blog article on Narendra Modi.

IAMC has urged the Government of India to address concerns raised by the City of Harvey resolution. The resolution explicitly urges the government “to demonstrate its commitment to the Constitution of India as well to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by safeguarding the human rights of all its citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations.”

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.

Contact: Zafar Haq
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info(at)iamc(dot)com

References:

1.    Resolution 2629 passed by City of Harvey
http://iamc.com/resolutions/harvey-resolution-2629/

2.    Video of Harvey City Council Meeting that passed resolution 2629
http://iamc.com/videos/harvey-resolution-video/

3.    US Congressional Hearing highlights the plight of Indian Minorities, Gujarat victims
http://iamc.com/press-release/us-congressional-hearing-highlights-the-plight-of-indian-minorities-gujarat-victims/
4.    Congressional Resolution H.RES 569
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.RES.569:

5.    Indian Americans across US hold candle-light vigils for Gujarat victims
http://iamc.com/news/report-indian-americans-demand-justice-for-gujarat-victims-through-candle-light-vigils/
6.    Mayor Eric J Kellogg’s historic speech expressing solidarity with Gujarat victims
http://iamc.com/resolutions/harvey-resolution-2629/

7.    Indian American Group welcomes Congressional Resolution on Gujarat Violence of 2002
http://iamc.com/press-release/indian-american-group-welcomes-congressional-resolution-on-gujarat-violence-of-2002/
8.    "We have no orders to save you" - Report by Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2002/india/

9.    Tom Lantos Commission - Hearings for South Asia http://tlhrc.house.gov/hearings.asp?showdate=3/21/2012

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