Deeply Dismayed That Delhi Govt. Refusing to Set up Large Relief Camps: Harsh Mander
Homeless shelters are no substitute, they offer neither safety nor dignity to victims, says Mander
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 29— Noted rights activist and former civil servant Harsh Mander has criticized the Delhi government of Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly refusing to set up large relief camps for the victims of northeast Delhi violence. The four-day long violence has rendered hundreds of families homeless as their houses were burnt by rioters.
In the violence that erupted Sunday afternoon and continued for next three days, more than 40 people have been killed and over 200 injured. Hundreds of shops, houses, offices and vehicles have been set afire by rioters.
On Thursday and Friday, Kejriwal had announced various monetary relief measures for the victims, including Rs 10 lakh for each deceased and Rs 5 lakh each for houses completely destroyed. Regarding the temporary stay of those who have become homeless, Kejriwal had said that the victims can stay in night shelters, some community centres have also been opened for them and many have moved to their relatives’ homes.
Given the large scale destruction of homes, Mander is of the view that big relief camps should be opened by the state government. In a series of tweets Saturday morning, he expressed his views on the issue and also announced that civil groups are working to erect relief camps on their own.
“Deeply dismayed that Delhi govt refusing to set up large relief camps. Homeless shelters are no substitute: they offer neither the safety nor dignity which people battered & terrorized by communal hate require from a caring state. Citizens' initiatives are trying to fill the gap,” tweeted Mander.
“People in affected areas extraordinarily generous, opening their homes to traumatized riot refugees. Ordinary citizens & organizations like Khalsa Aid reaching valued supplies. We're mapping these private camps today to be able to meet their needs effectively.”
“The citizens' collective for peace has resolved to fill the unconscionable gap left by the state by setting up some citizens' relief camps. They will be scouting today for safe locations for these camps. One finalized we will appeal for donations to be directed to these camps,” said Mander.