Delhi Riot Victims Suffer Double Whammy of Homelessness and Lockdown
Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MARCH 28— After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 21-day nationwide lockdown in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 or Coronavirus, the condition of Delhi violence victims has become pitiable. Even as they were busy in filing forms for riot relief, the lockdown has just shaken their life.
In view of the epidemic, the Eidgah relief camp in Mustafabad area where hundreds of victim families were staying for three weeks was shut down by the Delhi government on March 24, making the families shelterless once more. Even though the government and NGOs have made arrangement for their stay in rented houses, they are facing problems of daily life.
Talking to India Tomorrow, Sharique from Shiv Vihar, one of the worst affected localities in the northeast Delhi, said: “Our problems have gone manifold after the lockdown. After the violence, we were busy in removing debris of our destroyed home and awaiting monetary support from government, but now we have become dependent on our relatives. Till lockdown is in place, we cannot rebuild our home, nor look for source of livelihood.”
Sharique’s home was torched by rioters on February 25. He is now living on a rented house in Govindpuri and awaiting government help.
Irshad of Khajuri Khas area gives more information about the riot victim families.
“In our lane, 12 families whose homes were set afire during the violence have not yet got compensation. Their condition is further grim after the lockdown. Some families have taken refuge in homes in the neighbourhood and some have left for their home states,” Irshad told India Tomorrow.
He said that children and elderly people are most affected. Families are able to manage food, but getting milk for children and medicines for elderly people is an uphill task for them. They can’t go out due to the lockdown, but some don’t have money at all.
Several other victims also narrated their ordeal to India Tomorrow.
The family of Abdul Hamid, resident of Mustafabad, was living in the Eidgah camp as their home was torched. After the camp was shut down due to the Coronavirus, the family has been living in a rented house.
“Some people had come and given us ration. We are able to eat two times a day but we are worried a lot about medicines and other necessary things. We don’t have money and if we go out, police beat us,” he said.
Those who were awaiting compensation could not buy ration in advance and now they are facing hardship due to the lockdown.
Khajuri Khas resident Hamza said: “We don’t have ration. We are living at our relative’s home in Mustafabad. We were awaiting monetary riot relief when lockdown was announced and we all got locked in our home. Some Muslim groups had come and distributed ration but we could not take it. Now we are surviving at other’s help.”
Some people are left with ration for only 2-3 days and thus are worried about meal in coming days.
Masoom Ali of Khajuri Khas, who has lost everything in the riot, said: “Some people had given food items with which we have survived. But we are left with ration for only 2-3 days. We just worry while thinking about the coming days.”
Another victim family said: “If violence had not taken place our house would not have been torched and we would certainly have had food items for some days in hour house. During the lockdown, we would manage only ration which was not much tough. At least we would have had a shade over our head. Now we have become fully dependent on our relatives.”
Shahid of Khajuri Khas said that some riot victim families have not got anything to eat for the last two days.
“Some families in Mustafabad have not eaten anything for the last two days. They don’t have mobile phone either which I could share with relief workers for help. Kindly please help them if you can, otherwise they would die of hunger,” Shahid became emotional while saying these words.
While talking about several other families, Shahid told India Tomorrow that “he has surveyed and found these people are indeed needy. You yourself can verify by visiting their homes. Kindly do try and help them.”
In Shiv Vihar, some families are forced to live in their burnt homes. Ration has been arranged for them, but they are worried about medicine for and health of their children.