A small ‘township’ has sprung up at Idgah in Mustafabad

Victims of violence at a relief camp in Mustafabad in the city.

Victims of violence at a relief camp in Mustafabad in the city.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Advocates, doctors and college students do their bit to help victims

A pothole-ridden slushy road with open drains on both sides lead to the Idgah in Mustafabad, which has doubled up as the largest relief camp for riot-hit families of north-east Delhi.

Inside the camp, a small town has sprung up: from counters to register the riot survivors to advocates who help in registering cases for free and doctors for medical aid. The camp also has a tin-shed kitchen at the rear end and volunteers who organise painting classes for children. But a heap of waste was dumped openly inside the gate of the camp and temporary toilets set up outside the camp were on top of stinking garbage and open drains.

Ground report

At tent number 14, which is a medical camp, Shakeela Begum, 62, was lying on a wooden desk with an (IV) drip hung from the roof. “I was standing in the line to get my eyes tested when I fainted. I have hurt my teeth,” said Shakeela.

Shakeela, a mother of four and a widow, lamented that she has to marry off her 18-year-old daughter. “Look what happened. Our house was attacked and I have been here for four days and no one has filled up forms for us [for compensation],” she said.

Around 2.10 p.m., Ruksana Chaudhry, a doctor who came to check on her asked, “Have you eaten anything?”. Shakeela shook her head. The doctor gave her a packet of biscuit,‘frooti’ and some medicines too.

Many people at the camp showed an ink mark on their forefinger, which was done on the day they came to the camp to identify them. The authorities are now in the process of making ID cards.

By 2.15 p.m., hundreds of people sat on green mats spread on the ground for lunch. Though the cook said it was Matar Gosht (a curry of meat and green peas) and rice, many disagreed. “I am almost done eating and I didn’t find any meat in it. In the morning, they gave us tea and rusk and I have been hungry for a long time. There is no dearth of materials here. It should be managed better,” said Hasmudeen, 50.

Painting classes

Around, 3 p.m., about 40 children, including 11-year-old Naveed, sat down on a white foam mat and started painting rabbits, frogs, hens and crocodiles on sheets of paper handed out to them by students from a college. “I had drawn a flag, a tree and a cloud in the morning,” Naveed said.

“We wanted to take their minds off things happened back at their homes,” said Jeevan Issac, a student at Vidya Jyoti College and an volunteer.

Outside the gates of the camp, two portables toilets stood on top of stinking garbage and their outlet pipes thrown into open drains in which blackish water flowed.

Delhi govt. response

When asked about it, a Delhi government spokesperson said the BJP-ruled MCD has not been sending people to collect the garbage and they have cleaned the area partly by Thursday evening with help from sanitation workers from government schools.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 8:53:06 AM |

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