The genesis of AMAN may be traced back to the numerous anti-communal civic action groups that emerged after the Delhi carnage of 1984, in the wake of targeting of the Sikhs. Many of those who set up AMAN, were involved in relief work for the victims of communal violence and subsequent voluntary action to prevent further such outbreaks. In the course of their work, they gradually came to understand that Peace could not be achieved by passivity, but by identifying sources of social discontent and defusing tension through positive rebuilding of social conditions and relations.

The present group evolved out of working together for five years in the Violence Mitigation and Amelioration Project (VMAP) of Oxfam (India) Trust, and supported by the Ford Foundation. The programme began in late 1997 and ended in April 2003, after carrying out a number of activities related to different aspects of conflict in India.  Many of AMAN's present programmes were initiated during VMAP.

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