Riot victims at relief camp asked to leave, stare at uncertain future

People living at the camp claimed that three tents were removed while the volunteers ‘rudely’ told them to vacate.

People living at the camp claimed that three tents were removed while the volunteers ‘rudely’ told them to vacate.   | Photo Credit: Hemani Bhandari

‘Volunteers told us that public toilet vans near the street are a problem’

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, riot victims at the Idgah relief camp in north-east Delhi’s Mustafabad allege that they are being asked to vacate the premises at the earliest. Without their own place, they stare at an uncertain future.

At the camp, which was set up by Delhi Waqf Board in the last week of February, inhabitants claimed that three tents were removed while the volunteers “rudely” told them to vacate.

“For the last two days, the volunteers have been asking us to leave the camp. They claim that people living close to the camp are complaining because of the public toilet vans on the street. They removed one camp on Saturday afternoon, another on Sunday night and one more on Monday evening,” said Imran Khan (32), a resident of Shiv Vihar, who left his rented house on February 25 out of fear after the violence. When he returned, he found it looted and vandalised.

He also alleged that most camp-residents haven’t received any government compensation. “Where are we supposed to go? We have our own house in Shiv Vihar but we are five brothers, besides the parents. There is no space. Therefore, my wife and I are staying here. I have not received any compensation from the government despite submitting documents. If I get the money, I could start my work and rent a place,” Khan said.

Vulnerable to disease

Sharing his inability to move out of the camp, Khan said he can’t go to any relative’s house because no one is ready to take any extra person in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. “We had kept the beds at a distance because of Coronavirus. But as they have removed three camps, people will have to bring the beds closer, which make them vulnerable to the disease,” he said.

Another inhabitant, Kamruddin, is disgruntled at the local leaders, who he says barely visit the premises. “At least, they can solve the issues of hygiene raised by locals,” he said. He also alleged that food quality has deteriorated and several medicines are not available at the camp. “We are glad that we are getting food but earlier, we were getting food of better quality. Now they’re giving the same dish twice a day,” he said.

‘Volunteers rude’

Salma, a 38-year-old resident of Shiv Vihar, alleged that the inhabitants have been asked to fend for themselves. “We are being asked to do everything ourselves. As of now, we have started washing the utensils. The volunteers have started speaking so rudely,” she said, adding that when advocates come to check on them, the volunteers lie and claim they are not asking them to leave.

The inhabitants claimed they were not provided with hand sanitisers and hand wash, indispensables during the outbreak. “It was the first day of the lockdown and people were moving in and out as they pleased. However, those living here are taking precautions themselves. The officials here have not provided any sanitisers or even hand wash,” said Imran Khan.

Responding to the allegations, Mohammed Imran, media coordinator [Idgah relief camp] and Nodal Officer of Delhi Waqf Board, said that sanitisers and masks were provided but “they don’t know where they went”.

He said that people at the camp have been asked to go “only if they are willing to”. “Given the situation of an epidemic, those who have rented places have been asked to leave in case they can. No one has been forced. People should think about others where lives are at risk,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 9:53:28 AM |

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