"Turn this Ekata Colony in to a symbol and centre of resistance against communal forces." With this inspiring call, CPI(M) Polit Bureau Member M A Baby formally inaugurated a colony at Jaula village, built for people uprooted from their villages and homes during horrible communal riots last year. Communal violence, mainly instigated by Sangh Parivar, broke out last July in Muzzaffarnagar and adjoining Shamli district, taking a toll of 65 lives and leaving more than 50 thousand, mainly poor Muslim villagers homeless.
This colony, resettling 60 uprooted families, mainly from Lack and Bahavadi villages from Shamli district, is very different from other similar resettlement efforts for minority people unable to go back to their original villages fearing attacks. No doubt this is different in sense this is only colony that has come up as result of resettlement effort by a political party—the CPI(M). Party's call for Muzaffarnagar victim's relief fund had evoked good response and contributions of around 70 Lack rupees were received, bulk of it coming from mass collections in Kerala and Bengal.
But this Ekata Colony, presently having a total of 54 houses is very different in its conceptualization and specially active and decisive role given to resettlers and people of Jaula village also. Instead of building and handing over houses the CPI(M) first helped these families from a refugee camp in acquiring land for houses at cheap rate in this village that had given them shelter and then provided them with building material for a Pucca house worth a lack rupee each and other help. Houses are largely built by these poor workers themselves, designed to their own needs and are spacious enough to properly accommodate their livestock as well.
Not surprisingly much before the construction was completed and formal inauguration took place, people had already settled in their houses. Naturally their gathering for formal inauguration was also for them an occasion for raising issues related with provisions of Power, Water and Roads, that government is supposed to provide. Besides houses, CPI(M) has also provided these families basic tools and equipments to continue their professions like tailoring, hair cutting, carpentry or simple tools of labor. Widows and rape victims are also provided with sewing machines. Similarly party has also helped a few refugee families in marriage of their daughters.
After initial round of distributing immediate relief material like Blankets, cloths etc in relatively large number of refugee camps and raising issues related with horrible conditions in these camps and later on state governments efforts at forcible closure of refugee camps, CPI(M)'s relief committee headed by central committee member Subhashini Ali, decided to concentrate party's limited resources at rehabilitating refugees at Jola camp. Subhashini underlines with pride that because of the CPI(M)'s resistance only administration could not shut down refugee camps in Jola.
Even now on premises of Jola power station some 130 families, mainly from Hasanpura are languishing in dilapidated tents. Party's relief committee has taken up the issue of proper rehabilitation of these refugees also with administration. CPI(M) Lok Sabha Member M B Rajesh, with Subhashini Ali and other local party leaders, visited this camp also and enquired about conditions at the camp. Administration hiding behind the fact that one or two families may be willing to go back to their earlier villages, is refusing to take steps to resettle refugees in some new place. People in this camp told CPI(M) leaders in no uncertain terms that they have no intention of going back to villages that threw them out more than a year back.
Inauguration of Ekata colony also saw a large public meeting at compound of Jain Intermediate collage Jola. Veteran communist and Kisan leader, Hafiz Iqbal presided over meeting, while CPI(M)'s Muzaffarnagar District Secretary, Shyamveer Rathi conducted the proceedings. Beside M A Baby and M B Rajesh, CPI(M)'s UP State Secretary S P Kashyap also addressed the gathering. All the speakers drew attention towards growing communal challenge and appealed to resist offensive of communal forces by strengthening their unity. Subhashini Ali concluding the meeting underlined that fact that fight for Power, Water and Roads in Ekata colony and a Hospital at Jola will have to be taken ahead seriously.