Politics of citizenship and settlement in Ahmedabad in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots in India

This dissertation studies the politics of citizenship, resettlement and everyday life in the aftermath of communal violence in India and argues that in the context of survivors of communal violence, legal notions of citizenship are inadequate to provide for the experiences of the survivors. Therefore, the study explores the development of a new framework that takes into account the everyday life of these survivors and the politics of space surrounding them. Such accounts of everyday life in this case include the subaltern experiences of poor survivors living on the edge of the Ahmedabad city, close to a mountain of garbage with no access to basic services and titled property.

To understand such politics of citizenship, this research studies the life of survivors of the 2002 Gujarat riots living in the resettlement colony ironically named ‘Citizennagar’ (a city of citizens) located in the southeastern periphery of Ahmedabad city. Citizennagar makes for an interesting case study since its residents include prime witnesses and survivors of the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg society massacre, the worst instances of anti-Muslim violence in India since independence. The research will study the intersection of three concepts namely citizenship, right to the city and spatial justice in the context of Citizennagar because it’s residents have been liaising and battling with multiple actors to fight for that space in the city and remove the garbage dump from there. The research also looks deeply into the relationship survivors forge with incoming researchers, politicians, representatives of non-governmental organisations, and members of religious communities in their day-to-day struggle and argue why a victim-centric approach is not enough to understand the nature of such a relationship.

Md Adil Hossain
Research Student