Delhi

Plea seeks redress over Delhi govt.’s failure to prevent Feb. riots

Shops torched by the mob during the riots in north-east Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court has taken cognisance of a petition by a Muslim family seeking compensation from the Delhi government for its failure to prevent the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February.

Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Delhi government and directed it to submits its counter affidavits within four weeks. Md. Shahabaj, his wife Angoori Khatoon, and their son Md. Abu Talha in their joint petition said they were living in Khajoori Khas when communal violence erupted in north-east Delhi.

Their plea said that on February 25, a mob of around hundred people attacked their rented house and set it on fire. The plea said their jewellery and other items of livelihood and documents including rent agreement, Aadhaar cards, and certificates of children were either stolen or burnt down with the house.

Severe distress

Mr. Shahabaj said he, his wife, son Talha and four other minor children had to immediately abandon their house in severe distress as the mob had gathered around their house downstairs with bricks, petrol bombs, hockey sticks, iron rods and firearms.

Narrating their ordeal, Mr. Shahabaj said he was sleeping in the house when commotion started outside their house in the morning. His wife Khatoon was praying when one of the rioters threw a stone at them. Two of his children, who were studying in Madarasa at Fatima Masjid, had to jump from the first floor of the building, which was attacked with stones and set on fire by the mob.

The petition claimed that the “complete collapse of the rule of law” reflected the inefficiency of Delhi Police and the government. It contended that “Delhi Police failed to take control of the heinous mobs and at some places, actively supported the members of the mob”.

“Mobs comprising hundreds of people were actively looking for Muslim houses, properties and means of livelihood to loot, burn and destroy. The petitioners’ house also fell victim to this lawlessness, chaos and utter destruction,” the plea said.

Less compensation

Advocate Kawalpreet Kaur, representing the family, stated that Delhi government’s assistance scheme for the victims of communal violence is arbitrary and discriminatory. “The amount of compensation is too little and inadequate when assessed on the basis of the financial losses and trauma suffered by the victims of the communal violence,” the plea said.

“In the case of petitioners, the policy if followed, allows only ₹1 lakh to be paid to the petitioners and their family as the house they were staying was a rented accommodation,” it added.

The petition has sought directions to the authorities to immediately release interim amount of ₹10 lakh as compensation to the family members and ₹50 lakh as total compensation.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:00:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/plea-seeks-redress-over-delhi-govts-failure-to-prevent-feb-riots/article33216946.ece

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