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Broken Lives and Compromise

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Victims of mass violence often fail to get justice from the legal system, at least within reasonable time. In the meanwhile, the clamour for "compromise" and for "moving on" often come to dominate public discourse. This article, based on a decade-long intense involvement with the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat killings, tries to understand what motivates the victims to agree to such "compromises" with the perpetrators of violence on them. It identifies various forms of inducement, coercion, fatigue and despair as probable reasons. It argues that forgiveness can only happen when the victim is empowered enough to decide but in our context, such acts merely hide the victims' inability to receive justice.

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