Delhi violence a matter of great shame: Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander.  

Human rights and health activists on Monday demanded that State and Central governments immediately start trust-building measures, provide medical, legal and rehabilitation camps to help violence-affected people of northeast Delhi. The demands came a week after violent communal clashes in the district that claimed the lives of at least 45 persons.

Calling the violence a matter of great shame, activist Harsh Mander said it was hard to believe that the Delhi Police, the second largest police force in the country, couldn’t stop the violence. “The suffering, pain, fear that we are seeing now is a reflection of our collective failure. It is not the governments who came out to help; it is the common man in Delhi,” he said, speaking at a press conference organised by the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA).

On ground voices

Activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Annie Raja and Harjit Singh Bhatti also participated in the presser after releasing the group’s ground report titled “The Role of Health Systems in Responding to Communal Violence in Delhi”. The report documented the response of the health systems as communal violence engulfed several localities of North East Delhi.

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The report documents the first-hand experience of JSA volunteers that have been on the ground since 25 February as well as accounts of injured persons and their families that volunteers have directly interviewed and worked with.

Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti from the Progressive Medicos and Scientists said there was long delay in the treatment of those who suffered gunshot wounds “because police did not allow private medical help to reach the sites of violence”.


Pervasive mistrust

“Police were rude.. and because of fear and disbelief, the wounded people were not ready to undergo treatment in government hospitals,” the activists claimed.

Stating that there was still a large number of people who had not received any medical help so far, Mr. Bhardwaj said, “The violence also exposed India’s poor healthcare system. Government hospitals are overburdened. The riot-affected areas do not have any hospital — the nearest hospital is 10 km away. Worse, no one from the Centre or Delhi government has established any contact with the people till February 29.”

Indicating the mistrust of the affected persons, Ms Bhardwaj recounted that when the group asked if they could help people fill the compensation form, the affected people rebuffed that offer, fearing that the information may be used for other purposes.

The activists demanded that public representatives visit ground zero and meet the violence-hit people which is crucial for confidence building. Also shelter and adequate relief should be arranged for families who have been forced to leave their houses, the activists said.

The group has also demanded that the government set up round-the-clock medical camps and a single-window facilitation centres for official documents destroyed in the arson.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 4:34:16 AM |

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