As many as 50 victims of riots that broke out in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas last September died while staying in relief camps that were put up to provide them with shelter and safety. As many as 34 of them were children.
Officials have confirmed that those who died were of the Muslim community. Of the 34 children, some died during treatment at the hospitals while others at relief camps. On Friday, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K G Balakrishnan, who held a three-day camp in Lucknow, relayed the state government’s information to him that 47 people had died in the camps by December 3. Post that, two have been reported dead from Shamli’s Kairana area — one, a 15-day-old child while the other, 35-year-old Mohammad Umar, was suffering from liver problem, Shamli district officials said.
Another death was reported from Shahpur area last week. A 63-year-old woman, Mehmoodan, who was staying in a makeshift hutment after the relief camp in Shahpur was closed down, died on Thursday. Mehmoodan’s body was buried without having gone through a post-mortem examination, the reason why officials could not confirm the cause behind these deaths. Muzaffarnagar additional district magistrate Dr Indra Mani Tripathi confirmed that autopsies had not been performed in any of the cases.
While presenting facts before the media last month, the state had cited pneumonia, fever, premature birth, and chronic diseases as cause for a majority of these deaths. It had denied that lack of facilities at the camps or officials not behind held accountable were reasons behind the deaths of victims.
A total of 58 relief camps — 41 in Muzaffarnagar and 17 in Shamli — had been set up. Barring two regular camps and four satellite camps in Kairana, all others have been closed down. The victims have either returned to their native place or have settled at other places, confirmed Shamli ADM Pratap Singh Bhaduri.