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U.P. starts relocating riot victims to safer spots

People search for their articles after Uttar Pradesh government removed tents at a relief camp housing the victims of Muzaffarnagar riots in Loi village on Saturday.  

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday began relocating riot victims to “safer spots” and “government buildings.” But, some of the affected alleged that they were being forcefully evicted from their camps without being provided proper alternative shelters or due compensation.

This comes close on the heels of the government's admission that 34 children died in the relief camps. According to official sources, 4,783 people are still living in the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

The government has said that those who received the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh should leave the camps. On Saturday, many of those who got compensated left the Loi relief camp.

“These persons have purchased around 60 bighas of land close to the camp out of the compensation received and are gradually moving to the new plots,” Muzaffarnagar ADM Indra Mani Tripathi said.

While Chief Secetary Javed Usmani had said that nobody would be forced to shift, on the ground, the victims refute the administration's claims. Around 30 tents in the Loi relief camp, one of the worst affected, were dismantled using bulldozers and JCB machines on Friday. While the State provided no immediate explanation on Saturday it claimed that it was to relocate the affected persons.

Fatima and her three daughters were drinking tea when they were asked to evacuate the place immediately even as the JCBs started to dig up the shacks.

“We were told to clear up the space quickly but not told where we would go,” she said. Without any compensation and no place to live, she will shift to a buffalo shed.

Fatima and many others who have been forced to evict the camp alleged that they were yet to receive compensation even though they belong to Fugana, a riot-affected viilage. Most of the inmates of Loi belong to Fugana. In its 10th status report filed in the Supreme Court, the State government admitted that Loi was the only officially run camp with 1,000 persons. The State claimed that those contending that they did not receive any compensation were not from riot-affected villages.

“Some people within the camp are trying to influence the compensation surveys,” she alleged.

Mohammad Tahseen had gone out of the camp for 15 days to get his wife treated. On return he is not sure if he would be getting compensated. He is yet to get compensation.

In a representation to the Supreme Court, the victims claimed that the State was only giving compensation to the overall head of the family and not to other persons who have a separate family with separate kitchen and valid ration cards.

Mr. Tripathi dismissed allegations that the administration was trying to forcefully evict the victims.

Mr. Tripathi said that resurveying had to be done since some of the persons had claimed that their families had got the compensation but they hadn't.

Around 230 persons were relocated to places like Budana and Kalyanpur, while 167 have been compensated, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 6:10:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-starts-relocating-riot-victims-to-safer-spots/article5512596.ece

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