New Delhi: (26th December, 2013) In this chilling winter as one might find it difficult to gather courage to come out of one’s house, it haunts to imagine how thousands of people are compelled to live in the refugee camps. To feel and heal the pain of riot affected people, delegation of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) consisting of Sharique Ansar (National Secretary) Tayyab Ahmed (Sub-Editor, Chhatra Vimarsh) Kashif Ahmed Faraz,(Former Sub Editor, Chhatra Vimarsh), Nazeerul Hasan (Zonal President, SIO UP West) and a team of 10 members of SIO visited the camps with possible relief goods such as jackets, blankets and other warm clothes.
We started our journey from Delhi at 8:45 am on 26th through Kharad, Fughana, Bhanwar Kala, Bhajju, Adampura etc. The minority residents of these villages had escaped following threat of the communal clashes and are now refugees in the camps. Over 60 people were killed in the Muzaffarnagar riots. The women have been raped, kidnapped and many are still missing.
We went to Bhura village camp in Shamli disctrict, where people in camps were looking us with hope because they were desperate for the support and when asked about the Govt’s help, the refugees replied in negative. “We’re the victims of dirty politics. Our deaths, rapes and sufferings are horrible and no one understands what trauma we have faced and are facing physically, mentally and socially”, said Rahman, a 42 year old victim.
During the distribution of warm clothes, we asked Matloob, 34, if he would go back to his home, he said, “If we die here, we’ll get at least shroud and burial but no one can find even our dead bodies if go back.”
A supervisor in Bhura camp said only two families got the compensation of Rs. 5 Lakh among the 70 families living there. The irony is that Govt has declared compensation for only those riots effected people who have suffered major casualties. Where no casualty took place but the people were forced to flee were not considered in this category and hence they are not eligible for the compensation.
Later we went to Malakpura camp which was the biggest camp; fortunately there was a government dispensary for the patients yet we saw there a young girl about 22 years old had newly born kid who was mentally ill and couldn’t be diagnosed. When asked about his treatment, she said, “Here doctors are saying he is alright but he is not, and we don’t have enough money to move to private hospitals”.
Most of the refugees are farmers and labourers. It is a miserable situation that people lost their homes and employment and are now suffering for day to day needs. “We worked in Jat lands and now no one is ready to give us employment, somehow we manage to get work in this chilling winter but it is not assured for all days. It is hard for us to manage the daily needs of the family and we don’t know how long we will survive on people’s aid”, said Mujeeb, 38.
It was 7 o’clock when we moved to Loi village camp in Muzaffarnagar district. We all were shivering and felt pain for the people’s condition there. Najma, 30, who was cooking food while we entered her tent. When asked about her story, she said, “They killed my two children in front of my eyes. There was nothing I could do.” A bundle of quilts and her other two children, Najma says, were all that she could run away with after the Jat community attacked her village Lisad, in Shamli district. She posed silence for a few moments, wiping away tears, she continues, “They hacked my two little boys into three or four pieces and burned them to ashes.” She made all of us weep.
The final time had come when we all had to return with painful and traumatic stories. After the visit and survey, the delegation has put forward following demands before the administration:
1. Government must take serious steps to protect victims from the cold.
2. The promised compensation must be distributed as soon as possible so that victims can be rehabilitated soon.
3. After the riots, the children’s education got effected very badly, there is no arrangement for their education in the camps. We demand Givt to provide educational facilities to the children in the camps.
4. Small camps do not have health facilities. We demand Govt to provide dispensary in the small camps too.
5. Government must ensure the security to those who want to return to their homes.