The Delhi High Court Friday directed the Delhi government to ensure that all the riot victims, who may be shelterless at the moment, be provided accommodation either at the community centres or at the night shelters operated by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) in the northeast Delhi.
A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh also asked the Delhi government to “ensure the provision of food, water and medical aid to such individuals”. “The Delhi government and East Delhi Municipal Corporation shall furthermore, individually and jointly, ensure that sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene is properly and regularly maintained at the locations/centres/shelters where the riot victims are to be housed,” it ordered.
Advocate Amit Mahajan, representing the Delhi Police and Ministry of Home Affairs, and Delhi government’s standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra stated that they will provide every possible help to the riot-affected victims.
While hearing an urgent plea through video conferencing, the court also directed the authorities to provide proper food supplies, sanitation, cleaning of toilets, adequate water and security for the people at the Eidgah relief camp in Mustafabad.
The plea, the court was hearing, was filed by an activist and some of the victims of the area, who had, through senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, challenged the closure of the relief camp. The bench sought replies of the authorities by March 30.
Following the outbreak of novel coronavirus in India, mass gatherings of any nature have been banned for the coming weeks. In an effort to ensure that, Delhi’s Eidgah relief camp located in Old Mustafabad had to abruptly drive out riot victims too. More than 600 riot victims had been residing there since their homes were ravaged by the communal violence that killed more than 50 people in Northeast Delhi in February.
The petitioner sought directions to the Centre and Delhi government to “re-open the relief camp”. It sought direction that a “large contingent of cleaning staff from the East Delhi Municipal Corporation to go immediately to the areas to carry out the cleaning on a war footing and continue cleaning the area and the drains twice a day.”
“Direct the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) to publicly announce on television and in the newspapers that the Eidgah camp is open and all those who seek refuge there are welcome to return,” the plea sought.
It also sought direction to provide doctors and medical care immediately.
The plea stated, the authorities be restrained from preventing or interfering with the work of genuine NGOs and media persons providing assistance. It sought direction for the “security to be upgraded with immediate effect” at the relief camp.
It also urged the court that it should appoint “a responsible person as court commissioner” to visit the riot-affected areas and the relief camps, to prepare a report on the condition and make recommendations regarding what is needed to be done urgently.
The High Court, earlier had, directed the authorities to ensure cleanliness and hygiene at the camp and that necessary facilities be provided to the people there, especially in view of the spreading virus. The application alleged that the authorities have forced people to leave and close down the camp arbitrarily.
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