Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Last week, the anti-Muslim violence killed over 50 people in north-east Delhi. The violence has made hundreds of families homeless after right-wing mobs swept through neighborhoods and tortured Muslims houses, shops, cars and mosques.
Among the homeless, some have fled to their villages. Some are putting up at their relatives’ homes in neighbouring localities while most are camping at Mustafabad relief camp set up jointly by civil society and local government. In fact, many organisations have come forward to provide succor to the victims.
The student communities in Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University have set up collection centres, where young volunteers work all day to sort out, pack and distribute the food material donated by people. The volunteers are a dedicated lot, keen that the relief reached the victims of the violence. They, though, are not well-versed with the culture and landscape, and often find it tough to identify the truly deserving ones. Two relief workers said they delivered packets of daily ration to some families but “are not sure” whether these families were indeed affected by the violence.
Even though local youths in Mustafadad have conducted surveys and prepared lists of victim families, many of those Clarion India talked to said that much of the relief is grabbed by those who are not victims of the violence. On Thursday, as a Clarion India team visited Shiv Vihar localities, we found people swarming around carrier vans to get ration bags, but the distribution exercise was random and haphazard. Some people, who claimed to be victims did not get anything, while regular beggars in the area showed a special knack to appropriate the free packs.
“My home was not looted or attacked. I am not asking for relief but please provide relief to those who really need it,” said a local, Mohammad Rafi. “People come here and donate the ration, but it doesn’t often reach the needy.”
Shaan Ansari, 25, from Mustafababd said he has prepared a list of people whose properties were destroyed. He claimed that he helped the relief donating groups get in touch with the victims.
Rafi pointed attention to a home of an old man whose two- room house was torched by a mob during the violence. He claimed that the mob looted his house and took away the dowry he had stored for his two daughters, whose marriages were fixed. Rafi asked Ansari to get his name enrolled in the list.
The violence has prompted internal displacement and many families have taken shelter with their relatives in places like Mustafababd. Co-coordination with local youths enabled the volunteers take relief to the families who are sheltering the victim families.
The local government’s response has been weak. A woman said her family has received Rs 25,000 in compensation, but that would be peanuts in comparison to the losses the family has suffered. She estimated that her house was worth Rs six million, that too, excluding the furniture and other belonging. The common demand by the families whose houses have been burnt by mobs is that the government get their houses constructed on a war footing.