Despite HC order, riot victims struggle to get compensation

A vandalised house during riots in north-east Delhi.

A vandalised house during riots in north-east Delhi.  

They were not allowed to submit applications at Sub-Divisional Magistrate office

Two victims of the riots that broke out in north-east Delhi in February this year were welcomed by a poster at the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) office stating it is closed for public dealing, even though the High Court had passed an order on Monday stating that they could present their compensation applications there.

Neha Fareen (24) from Shiv Vihar, whose house was looted during the riots, spent her entire Tuesday at Karawal Nagar police station with her one-year-old son Zubin in the scorching heat only to get a copy of the FIR, which is to be attached to her compensation papers. She has to submit the papers at the SDM (Karawal Nagar) office. She said she was waiting for the copy for her own satisfaction.

However, on Wednesday, when she went to the SDM office in Nand Nagri, the guard allegedly told her that she won’t be allowed to enter and she should check after July 1. Ms. Neha said a poster in Hindi read that public dealing in the DC office will remain shut due to the outbreak till further orders.

“I have visited the police station over five times only for the diary entry number. I have also visited the SDM office a few times, the latest being on Wednesday after Monday’s court order. We are all really troubled because of depleting finances,” she said.

On June 21, while hearing a plea by Ms. Fareen and another petitioner Mohammed Mohsin, the High Court had ordered that the government “shall accept the application of the petitioners without insisting on a copy of the FIR” and that “such applications shall be processed expeditiously”.

Ms. Fareen had tried to lodge the FIR earlier but was informed that a diary entry has been lodged. The court was informed that her complaint has been clubbed with one of the FIRs registered in connection with the incident.

Ms. Fareen and her family had left for their village in Uttar Pradesh to attend her sister’s wedding a day before the riots broke out. They returned only in March to find that all their gold and cash, as well as an LCD TV had been looted.

Soon after this, the lockdown was announced due to which she couldn’t process the compensation documents.

Subsequently, in May and June, several trips were made to the police station and SDM office.

Similarly, 19-year-old Mohsin, also a resident of Shiv Vihar, said his bakery shop and house were looted during the riots. He and his family had fled to their village in U.P. on February 25, soon after the riots broke out. They returned on March 16 and subsequently submitted their loot complaint at Idgah relief camp. “I have gone to the SDM office a number of times. When I went on Wednesday, I was told by the guard to come after July 1,” he said.

SDM (Karawal Nagar) P.K. Patel said: “The office is open and they [victims] can call me if they want to come. I get calls from so many riot victims.” Regarding the poster at the office, Mr. Patel said: “Public dealing is not encouraged and we are working by putting our lives at risk”.

The court on Monday was also informed by the government’s counsel that the relief application web portal, which wasn’t functional will be rectified immediately.

However, advocate Mishika Singh appearing for riot victims said: “The web portal was working earlier and those who applied for compensation were given web IDs. Eventually, the domain was shut. After the court order, the website is running but after submission of application, no web ID or proof of receipt is generated,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:50:23 PM |

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