Jorrit de Jong, Harsh Mander, March 2008
The research project Improving Access (www.ImprovingAccess.Org) was developed by an international group of researchers interested in innovations in democratic governance. It explores the ways in which democratic institutions fail or succeed to create genuinely equal opportunities. This partnership between the Ash Institute at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the Centre for Government Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands has resulted in the production and organization of research, conferences, publications, and teaching materials.
This document is an interview with Harsh Mander, the Convenor of Aman Biradari, a people's campaign for secularism, peace and justice, regarding the innovative program, Nyayagrah.
In the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, more than half of the complaints filed by victims were closed without trial. The Nyayagrah initiative brought together working-class Muslim and Hindu volunteers to provide moral support and legal assistance to the victims. Along with a petition to the Supreme Court, the project led to real access to justice for the survivors of the riots.