Delhi (June 13, 2021): An SIO delegation visited the Rohingya Settlement in Delhi that was razed in a fire, met with victims and tried to understand their ordeal.

The fire abruptly broke out on the night of June 12 at the temporary shelter of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar at Madanpur, Khadar in South Delhi, bordering Uttar Pradesh. More than 52 cottages (jhuggis) inhabiting more than 250 peoples, including 92 children burnt down in the inferno. They are left without any food, clothes and money. Children and women, stationed under plastic roof near the charred ground, look shell-shocked, distraught and in pain. Except for a few sheets, there is hardly anything to spread on the ground. Few volunteers are feeding and providing clothing. The entire imagery makes one’s senses numb.

After interaction with several settlers, it has come to light that they were regularly threatened to vacate the land by uniformed and plain-clothed police officials. They are regularly harassed by the authorities demanding refugee documents and face threats on a regular basis. They had moved in at this place in 2018. They claimed that, on the day of fire, a few uniformed police personnel had enquired and asked them to vacate the land. By the time they could catch a breath, everything was burnt. None of the people have lost their lives, few have sustained few injuries.

SIO and others are carrying out relief activities on the ground, arranging clothes and food. However, the refugees are concerned about thier shelter. Where do they go from here? Thier savings have evaporated. They can’t afford rented houses.

Hence, they are requesting: a secure land where they can build their huts, assurance of safety and schooling for their children, as they don’t have access to basic education.

We immediately request the state and the Central governments to take this issue up seriously, as life of every human being is sacrosanct. United Nations High Commission for Refugees Human Rights (UNHCR) should also take notice and further expand the scope of rehabilitation.

In the 21st century enlightened society and a great nation of India, if we can’t let humans barely live on a piece of land, we need a deep introspection on our collective hollowness. We urge the civil society to take this matter up and open avenues for permanent relief rather than stop-gap arrangement.

The SIO Delegation comprised of Kidiyoor Nihal and Abdul Hafeez, National Secretaries, Al Fouz, SIO Delhi State Secretary, Abdul Jabbar, Manager of White Dot Publishers, and Shamsheer Ibrahim, National President of Fraternity Movement.