Special Reports

Mushawarat delegation visits Muzaffarnagar, distributes relief

New Delhi: A high-level delegation of the All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat visited Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of western Uttar Pradesh on 20 November for the fourth time since the outbreak of the anti-Muslim violence in that area last September and distributed relief to the inmates of a number of camps.

The delegation comprised of AIMMM President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan and AIMMM Central Committee member Dr Anwarul Islam. The delegation included a number of social workers and journalists. The delegation distributed 300 razaees (woolen duvets) and 300 woolen mattresses worth around 2.5 lakh rupees.

This time the delegation visited the refugee camps at Malakpur, Sunaithi Camps No. 1, 2 and 3, Bibipur, Barnawi and Noorpur. The delegation found that the inmates are left by the authorities without any help or amenities. Most are living in plastic tents which are unable to withstand the harsh cold weather and rains. The camps woefully lack toilets and hygienic conditions. Only scanty and irregular government aid has reached these people. Ration too reaches them intermittently and in insufficient quantities.

The delegation found that these camps house people even from far-away districts which were not reckoned until now as riot-affected areas like Saharanpur, Panipat and Meerut districts where the communal tension and attacks grew to such an extent that Muslims had to flee from their villages and take shelter in Muslim majority areas nearby.

At present, these people are camping on private or government (forest deptt) land. Such people should be settled on private land purchased for the purpose. Jamiat Ulama-e Hind and Jamaat-e Islami Hind are meeting this challenge to some extent while the need is much greater.

The delegation also came to know that people in general are not accepting the state government's offer of a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victims from a select list of villages which saw worst violence, murders, rapes and violence. To get even this compensation, the victims are required to sign an affidavit under which they agree to relinquish their "movable and immovable" properties in their villages and agree not to return to their erstwhile homes and also to leave the present camps at the same time. This compensation is limited to the families of some nine villages while the camps house refugees from some 200 villages mostly in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Baghpat.

The delegation also found that the refugees are in urgent need of a lot of help of various kinds, especially of water-proof tents, blankets and mattresses. But their paramount need is  land of their own where they can pitch their tents and start building their small dwellings to live fearlessly because the owners of the private land and the forest department will soon start pressurising them to leave their present places.

Charity Alliance, headed by Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, is also offering help to the refugees in various ways since the outbreak of the violence and is negotiating now to purchase land in the area where each family could be given a 50 sq. yard plot to settle. Each such plot of 50 sq. yards will cost around Rs 35,000. Charity Alliance has helped open a central coordination office for the riot victims at Kairana to offer information and guide help. Charity Alliance is also trying to provide professional tools to artisans and professional workers like tailors, stone-cutters, building workers and carpenters etc in order to help them resume their professions.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2013 on page no. 13

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