Delhi

Two months, five accommodations and yet far from home

Imran Khan and Muskaan have not seen their son since February, when riots broke out .

Imran Khan and Muskaan have not seen their son since February, when riots broke out .  

A couple struggles to manage their lives, first amid riots and now the COVID-19 pandemic

From their rented accommodation in Shiv Vihar to Chaman Park, Chaman Park to Idgah, Idgah to another rented accommodation and now to the top floor of a madrasa building, the riots which broke out in the Capital in February have left a family living like nomads.

Muskaan and her husband Imran Khan have shifted four times since February and haven’t seen their nine-year-old son ever since. They have been living with bare minimum essentials, dependent on money from the NGOs they had met at the Idgah relief camp.

Torn clothes

Wearing a blue-coloured kameez with a salwar, Muskaan pointed at two pairs, “These were given to me by a woman where I had gone to bath while staying at the Idgah camp. My clothes were torn so she gave me these. The one I am wearing was picked up by my husband from a pile of clothes lying there. The clothes were stinking but we didn’t have an option,” she recalled.

Muskaan recalled that she and Imran left their rented accommodation in Shiv Vihar, which was looted by the mob, and shifted to Chaman Park without picking up a single belonging and were further sent to Idgah where they stayed for more than 20 days. Recalling the night they were asked to leave from the Idgah relief camp, Muskaan said, “It was raining heavily. They asked us to leave because of COVID-19 outbreak. They gave us ₹3,000 and a packet of ration which they claimed will last three months. It’s over in a month. I remember we didn’t even get a rickshaw and had to walk all the way in the rain,” she said.

On street number 19, they rented a room for ₹2,500.

Just as they started to settle, rent for the second month approached. The landlord asked Imran and Muskaan for rent which they didn’t have. “The landlord said he is also managing his needs with the rent money. But we were barely managing ourselves and paying rent was very tough,” said Imran, adding that he started looking out for other possibilities.

Finally, an acquaintance decided to help and offered the couple an unfurnished floor of a multistorey building he owns, where a madrasa is functioning. The couple picked up their minimal belongings for the fourth time and left on April 22.

Five days ago, they shifted refrigerator, TV, utensils, and a few clothes from their Shiv Vihar accommodation to this place. “We didn’t shift the belongings as we didn’t have a permanent place,” said Muskaan.

The couple got an FIR registered as their house was looted and also submitted documents for compensation but haven’t received the money yet, they claimed. “The Waqf Board also promised ₹60,000 to us [tenants] but nothing has come so far. I am out of work for over two months now. The government gave dry ration but it also doesn’t have essentials like oil and spices,” said Imran, who used to work in a printing press in Jhilmil.

The couple’s son Arman had gone to his maternal grandmother’s house in Ghaziabad, a day before riots broke out, and has been there since then. “I couldn’t bring him back as the situation here was not good and when it started getting better, COVID-19 and the lockdown started. It’s been two months I haven’t seen him. I only speak to him over the phone,” said a tearful Muskaan.

Though Muskaan doesn’t have new clothes to offer namaz this Ramazan, she said, “In this holy month, I pray that this disease goes away and I can meet my son. All those who are unable to meet their loved ones because of this situation should unite again.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 6:29:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/two-months-five-accommodations-and-yet-far-from-home/article31457708.ece

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