Give them a secure piece of land and treat them humanely, SIO delegation tells govt after visiting the razed settlement
NEW DELHI – “Rohingya refugees are left without any food, clothes and money. Children and women, stationed under plastic roof near the charred ground, look shell-shocked, distraught and in pain. Except for a few sheets, there is hardly anything to spread on the ground. Few volunteers are feeding and providing clothing. The entire imagery makes one’s senses numb.”
These are the words of a delegation of the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) that visited the Rohingya settlement at Madanpur Khadar in South Delhi. The settlement has been burnt to ashes in a massive fire that abruptly broke out on the night of June 12.
More than 50 jhuggis (shanties), inhabiting over 250 people including 92 children burnt down in the inferno.
The devastated refugees from Myanmar told the delegation that they have regularly been threatened to vacate the land by uniformed and plain-clothed police officials. They are harassed by the authorities demanding refugee documents and face threats on a regular basis.
They had moved in at this place in 2018.
The refugees said that on the day of fire a few uniformed police personnel had warned them to vacate the land. By the time they could catch a breath, everything was burnt. Though none of the inhabitants lost their lives, some of them sustained injuries.
SIO and other organisations are carrying out relief activities on the ground, arranging clothes and food. However, the refugees are concerned about their shelter. Where do they go from here? All their savings are lost. They can’t afford rented houses, they told the delegation.
The refugees are seeking a secure piece of land where they can build their huts. They are also seeking assurance of safety and schooling for their children, as they don’t have access to basic education.
“We immediately request the state and the Central governments to take this issue up seriously, as life of every human being is sacrosanct. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should also take notice and further expand the scope of rehabilitation,” says SIO in a statement.
“In the 21st century enlightened society and a great nation of India, if we can’t let humans barely live on a piece of land, we need a deep introspection on our collective hollowness. We urge the civil society to take this matter up and open avenues for permanent relief rather than stop-gap arrangement,” adds the statement.