They were among the faces of the tragedies and stories that played out in 2013. As the year draws to a close,they are beginning to put the past behind. The shadows still haunt,but they are willing to believe 2014 will be a New Year…
1. Muzaffarnagar riots: Gulab Ali has been staying for the past four months at a relief camp in Sanjhak village of Muzaffarnagar,Uttar Pradesh. While most riot victims living in camps have been struggling to meet basic necessities like food and protection from the biting cold,Gulab has been missing his books the most.
2. 5-year-old Delhi Rape victim: In Delhi,the memory of December 16,2012,was still raw,and the stomach-churning assault on a child added fuel to the accumulating rage against the system. The family left the east Delhi neighbourhood because the questions would not go away. From police stations to shelter homes,the father says he encountered indifferencefrom the police officer who bribed him with Rs 2,000 “to keep things quiet” to the shelter where his ailing daughter was allegedly slapped,and which evicted her without a day’s notice.
3. Bihar mid-day meal tragedy: Neha Kumari (10),who also ate the rice and soyabean curry that day,had to be hospitalised and remained there with 23 other village children for about a month. She still complains of cough and intermittent fever. Though she has no complications because of poisoning any more,her father Baliram Mishra continuously worries for his daughter.
4. Children sent back from Norway: Abhigyan,5,and Aishwarya,3,were kept in foster care for about a year,with the parents accused of ill-treating the children. The CWS objected to,among other things,Abhigyan and Aishwarya sleeping with their parents and the way they were fed. On January 10,2013,it will be a year that Sagarika has had custody of Abhigyan and Aishwarya,following an interim order of the Calcutta High Court verdict.
Children sent back from Norway: ‘They do not go to sleep before I sing to them’ by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
5. Uttarakhand Disaster: A 23-year-old Dalit,Dhanita is the youngest among the 35 women of Deoli Bhaligram who were widowed by the Uttarakhand floods and landslides this year that left 5,000 people dead.
6. Kerala marine killings: This February,it will be two years since Jelestine and another fisherman Ajeesh Pinku were killed in firing by Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone onboard mercantile vessel Enrica Lexie. Valentile alias Jelestine’s wife Dora misses him,but is starting to think of a life beyond.