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Coronavirus: Delhi’s Eidgah relief camp cleared out, riot-hit victims hunt for another shelter

Authorities provided Rs. 3000 in cash and ration to last a few days to the riot-hit victims before clearing out the relief camp.

Authorities cleared out the camp, which was home for more than 600 riot victims on Tuesday. (Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Shabana Ansari has five daughters to look after and no home to return to. After riots broke out in Northeast Delhi last month, the Eidgah relief camp in Old Mustafabad has doubled up as a home to her and 600 other riot victims.

However, with the coronavirus outbreak, she and the other families are forced to look for a place to stay in 24 hours after authorities began clearing the camp.

Shabana, who has no spare clothes, ration, medicines or even a spare blanket, said, “My house is a smouldering ruin. Now I have to look for a home as they cleared out the relief camp. Where do I go with my five daughters?”

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On Tuesday morning, organisers offered riot victims Rs 3,000 in cash to help pay rent and ration to last a few days and told them to look for a house. Many, however, dread going back to their homes, fearing attacks by neighbours.

Most families also claimed they haven’t received money for the rent.

AAP MLA Haji Yunus told The Indian Express, “We are clearing out the camp due to coronavirus. But we are giving them ration and rented accommodation. I myself saw two families being given houses in Babu Nagar, they said they liked it.”

Volunteers at the camp told The Indian Express that they have been planning on vacating it for a week since it was becoming difficult to manage healthcare and food. “Only 30-40 families are left in the camp,” said Wasim, a volunteer.

On Saturday, the Delhi High Court had directed the Delhi government to ensure that adequate healthcare facilities are provided at the camp within two days.

Advocate Afsha Pracha, who represents riot victims, said the “authorities should have provided healthcare services as per the High Court directions instead of clearing out people”.

Like Shabana, others too are looking for a roof above their heads.

Isra (45) has been trying to get medicines for her son who has fever. She was given Rs 1,000 and five sets of clothes and told to vacate the camp. “They told me I could get infected with coronavirus and spread it around,” she said.
Jameela Begum (55), a widow, had fled her home after it was attacked with petrol bombs. She now has high fever and a sore throat. “Officials said I cannot go to my house for a month. It is completely destroyed,” she said.

Haseena (50), a resident of Shiv Vihar, has been wearing the same clothes ever since she ran away from her house which was looted. “My native place is in Uttar Pradesh. Will they give us special trains to leave Delhi?” she asked. She said she has received compensation money from the government.

Mumtaz (40) has left the camp for her relative’s house, which has a single room and no bathroom. “But they will only let me stay for a week,” she said. Her house was set ablaze — the mob also made away with the jewellery she saved for her daughter — and her husband sustained acid attack injuries.

“The government gave Rs 40,000 for the injuries sustained by my husband and daughter. But we still haven’t received money for our home. We filled the form two weeks ago and officials also verified everything. We haven’t heard from them yet. My husband can’t work because he lost his vision,” said Mumtaz.

Imran Khan (32), who lived in Shiv Vihar, said volunteers told him and his family of eight to find a new place. “I worked at a printing shop, which is now burnt. Today, we left in the rain. my mother was crying, we have now found a room but the landlord will ask for money later. The government has not paid for damage to our house.”

According to officials, 15 households are yet to receive compensation while the rest have been given the relief amount.

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