By Kashif Ahmed Faraz,
Shamli/Muzaffarnagar: In this chilling winter we couldn’t make courage to go outside, it haunts to imagine how more than 30000 people are compelled to live in the camps in this killing cold. To feel and heal the pain of riot effected people Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) delegation consisting Sharique Ansar, Kashif Ahmed Faraz, Tayyab Ahmed and other visited the camp with possible relief goods like jacket, sweater and blankets.
We started our journey from Delhi at 9 o’clock on 26th December, 2013 and passed 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 belonging to the minority community have been victimized through brutal rapes. Some incidents have been reported that younger girls were stripped naked in front of everyone and then burnt alive. Many girls have been kidnapped and are still missing.
We went to Bhura village camp, Shamli disctrict, people in camps were looking us with hope because they were desperately seeking for the support and when asked about the administration help, the refugees of the camps replied in negative. “We’re the victims of dirty politics. Our deaths, rapes and sufferings have been reduced to numbers while no one understands what trauma we have faced and are facing physically, mentally and socially”, said Rahman, 42 year victim.
During the distribution of jackets and blankets I 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 Bhua 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 made 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; luckily 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 from her mother 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 home 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 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, Muzaffarnagar district. We all were shivering and felt gloomy for the poor people’s condition in the unkind cold. Najma, 30, who was cooking food while we entered in her tent and when asked about her story says, “They killed my other two children in front of my eyes. There was nothing I could do.” A bundle of quilts and her two children, Najma says, were all that she could run away with after from the Jat community attacked her village Lisad, in Shamli district, “
She is silent 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 put forwarded some demands before the administration:
1. Government must take serious step 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. In the riots the children’s education get effected very badly, there is no arrangement for their education in the camps. We demand to provide education facility to the children in the camps.
4. Small camps do not have health facilities. We demand to provide dispensary in the small camps too.
5. Government must assure the security to those who wants to return their homes.
(Kashif Ahmed Faraz is Delhi based freelance journalist, student activist and former sub-editor of Chhatr Vimarsh Magazine. He can be reached at [email protected] )