“Not even a spoon,” said Riyazuddin Mansuri when asked if there was something in his house that could be salvaged.
“Anything of worth was stolen, the rest is burnt or covered in thick soot,” said the 40-year-old who ran a small shop that sold bakery items in Northeast Delhi’s Shiv Vihar.
A civil defence volunteer, Anil Kumar, came to verify the damage to what Mansuri called home for 13 years.
Mansuri is among the hundreds who reached the office of the Shahdara District Magistrate over the last 2-3 days to fill out forms to claim compensation from the government. Mansuri’s family may have lost all their possessions but lives were preserved.
“A mob of 700-800 men reached our lane on February 25 (Tuesday) at 10 pm. My three children, my mother, my wife and I saw the mob gathering outside our house. We saw them setting fire to a house in the adjacent lane and decided to run. That decision saved us. When I came back after a few days, I saw that my house was looted and burnt. I filed a complaint, took photos of the damage and filled the form for compensation,” he said.
Over the next few days, 18 sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) will be in the area to ensure help reaches everyone and the process to claim compensation is expedited. At the Shahdara office Monday, the civil defence volunteer on duty at the helpdesk was taking down details of those who are applying for compensation. By 3 pm, Monday’s list had 180 names and claims.
While the government is providing an amount of Rs 25,000 to victims initially, the remaining amount will be given based on the damages incurred. Civil defence volunteers like Anil Kumar, alongside revenue department officials, will be the ones verifying the extent of damage on the ground.
On Monday, Kumar had 15 forms in his hand.
“I will be going from house to house to study the damage and make a list of things that people lost. Today I am in Shiv Vihar, tomorrow I will get a set of fresh forms,” he said, as a group of three BSES officials tried to repair a streetlight that had stopped working last week.
Back at the DM office, Pyar Mohammad (45) managed to fill out a form for compensation after running around for two days. His footwear shop on the ground floor of the building that housed Arun Modern Public School in Brijpuri was set on fire.
“Dangai the dono taraf ke. Nuksaan toh hamara hi hua,” he said. Close to 400 volunteers are distributing forms in affected areas, and that is how Mohammad got one. “I faced no problems in filling out the form or getting an FIR registered. I just hope we get the money soon so that I can repair my shop. Kaam toh phir shuru karna hi hai,” he said.
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