Delhi Pogrom: Some Help, Some Struggle at Relief Camp


Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Delhi Government is making attempts to repatriate the violence-hit families back to their homes who are living at the Mustafabad camp even as they are grappling with the shock of the mob violence in which they were hounded and forced to abandon their homes and hearths.

As of now, there are 863 riot victims from 266 families camping in 13 tents there, Waqf Board officials of Delhi Government managing the relief camp informed Clarion India on Sunday. One official said the camp hosted around 300 families in the initial days.

The family heads are meeting Amanatullah Khan, the Aam Aadmi Party leader and MLA from Okhla, who is overseeing the rehabilitation exercise. The officials said Khan will hear the complaints of the victims, discuss their needs and try to boost their confidence for repatriation.


The officials revealed that the government may come up with an assistance scheme. The families will get a relief package comprising gas kits, clothes, food supplies, and cooking oil. The government has started looking for volunteers to help in delivery of the package to families in the riot-hit localities. “The exercise may take 4 to 5 days to complete,” a message circulated on WhatsApp read.

While the officials said the tenants as well as house-owners will get relief, it could not be confirmed whether a monetary relief will be part of the package. “The government is also working on getting the houses repaired or reconstructed but it is too early to comment on that,” another Waqf official said.

The officials said they are encouraging the families to go back to their homes as they are also trying to establish their businesses or join back their work and earn a livelihood. Most of the families still staying put are the ones whose houses have been completely destroyed in the arson.

Over 50 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed in the mob violence that continued for three days as law and order broke down in parts of the national capital. The violence broke out in the last week of February following provocative exhortations from BJP’s Kapil Mishra. This triggered internal displacement. Survivors of the violence have taken shelter either with their relatives or at the camp in Mustafabad, a Muslim-dominated locality in north-east Delhi that has emerged as the space sheltering victims.

The camp, situated in the Eidgah, not only provides shelter, but also legal and medical aid.

A legal desk being run by a team of lawyers helps victims’ families to file complaints before the sub-district magistrate for compensation. Lawyer M Sikander said they have so far helped file nearly 200 cases for compensation, which is granted only after the filing of police FIR. But, he revealed that many injured victims have not lodged police complaints out of a fear of detention. “They seeks our help but don’t want their names to come up at the police station,” he said.  “Some injured left the hospital without getting their MLC paperwork done due to fear of police action.”


After the declaration of coronavirus as global pandemic, the scare has enveloped the camp as well. To tackle the emerging situation, the camp management with assistance from volunteers of Delhi Police has set up restrictions blocking the general public from entering the camp. “No one with any foreign travel history in the last 15 days is allowed to enter the camp,” said Syed Hyder Ali, an official manning a Waqf desk.

The gatekeepers check the identity cards of visitors, and ask for the purpose of visit before allowing entry. The camp management has set up a timetable for visitors including media persons to ensure that people don’t swarm the camp amidst coronavirus scare.

At the medical desk, Dr Mazhar volunteering with the Doctors Unity Welfare Association said the desk mostly receives patients with general complaints like allergy, shivers, fever and infection. He has seen several patients suffering from typhoid.

In severe cases, they refer the patients to the Guru Tek Bahadur Hospital for better treatment. To ward off the coronavirus scar, the desk has kept masks readily available and the volunteers are raising awareness among the survivors over the ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr Mazhar revealed that lack of adequate latrine and sanitation facility is causing urinary tract infections. The authorities have set up only two mobile toilet kiosks. The health practitioners also pointed out that the lack of cleanliness in these toilets is giving rise to infections.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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