It wasnt like every other Eid,but Aamna made the most of the day. Holed up in a relief camp in Joula village in Muzaffarnagar,where communal clashes threw her life out of gear a month ago,she did not apply mehendi or buy new clothes for her family this time. The best Aamna,who was forced to flee Biatuda village,could manage was biryani for her family.
We cannot return to our village,but we can start rebuilding our lives here. We used to give away so much to the poor on Eid. This time,even the biryani I cooked had meat gifted to us by a Good Samaritan. How long can we live like this? I pushed my husband and sons to work in the fields. We will work like we did at home,there is no reason for us to beg, Aamna,whose kin used to be weavers and embroidery workers,says.
The state-run relief camp has been dismantled by the UP government and rations have been withdrawn. In the past two weeks,people have opened up two barbers shops,a carpenters shop and an iron workshop. The government may think we have vanished or returned to our villages,but we cannot go back. We are staying here, says Mohammad Irfan from Lisar village,who has started a carpenters shop.
The jalebis are being sold by Hussain and his sons,displaced from Hassanpur-Lisar. If I was home,I would invite my neighbours,both Muslims and jats,for a daawat. Today,that friendship is broken,my house is gone,but life goes on. Im still making jalebis like I did at home, Hussain says.
In other camps too,occupants have started making the best of a bad situation. At a camp in Malakpur in Shamli district,the forest department has filed FIRs against unknown persons for illegal occupation of land. But its occupants have no plans of leaving anytime soon.