Human Volunteers of COVA form Human Chain
To prevent outbreak of riots in Hyderabad, 15 march 2012
In response to the communal violence in Gujarat that started 28 February 2002 and claimed over 2000 lives, a meeting of concerned citizens and NGOs was held at COVA. It was felt that with reports of wide spread carnage in Gujarat coming in there are possibilities of ‘reactions’ taking place. Moreover, RSS & VHP had announced its intention of starting at all costs, the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya on 15th March. This could further vitiate the atmosphere. It was decided that peace groups be initiated with the help of COVA volunteers and facilitated by different NGOs and concerned citizens in all sensitive areas – areas where there is a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims and local residents be motivated to maintain peace in their localities along with the police.
On 15th of March 2002, which happened to be a Friday, while the whole city was apprehensive about violence breaking out in response to the events unfolding at Ayodhya, about 100 women volunteers quietly assembled at COVA and proceeded to the Macca Masjid(Mosque) determined to prevent violence at all costs.
What happened thereafter is history, women from the most disadvantaged background demonstrated to the nation and to the world how timely, direct and bold action can prevent violence and save the lives and property of innocent people. After the Friday prayers while the crowd was quietly dispersing some miscreants started raising slogans and rushed towards the police force stationed some distance away. A human chain comprising of the women volunteers of COVA sprung up across the road and prevented a clash between the police and the people. On the one hand the women cajoled the angry young men to disperse peacefully and on the other pleaded with the police to exercise restraint. What could have been a bloody clash, with the potential of engulfing Hyderabad in flames, was thus averted. The women volunteers were also joined by a number of individuals and women from other NGOs. For more details, please see Annual Report 2001-2002 year.