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Communalism Violence

Those who saw death and destruction, won't be reassured by mere talk

Hindutva forces trying to cause social rupture between communities 

26 Mar 2020

dr zafrul

Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities says, Delhi Minority Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. That the Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi did not step in when needed, has made matters worse. While it is known that  the compensation offered to riot victims is not adequate, even the measly amount is not accessible for many who have lost documents and not been able to file complaints. The assessment of damage is a mammoth task and long term relief planning will have to put in place. With Covid-19 lockdown most of this work has slowed down too. However, things hopefully will get back on track as volunteers and NGOs continue to step forward when the authorities fail to do enough.
 

In an exclusive interview with Sabrang India, he spoke to Karuna John.

 

The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) has been mapping the damage caused in North-East Delhi. Please share your assessment of the extent of damage .

Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) started the assessment of riot victims and their losses as part of its fact-finding committee’s work. The pressing reason was that we were getting reports that area Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) were rejecting forms, that police were not registering (First Information Reports) FIRs or was clubbing many complaints with one FIR, which meant that some, or many, victims will not get justice and compensation. So we designed elaborate assessment forms and our volunteers are going house-to-house and to camps, to fill the forms at the doorstep of the victims. We are also giving receipts, while SDMs were not giving receipts. We plan to track those victims who do not get compensation and will use our assessment forms to get them their dues. The work has been slowed down at present due to the curfew restrictions as a result of the Corona epidemic. It will pick up speed once the situation becomes normal.
 

What is the extent of damage that still needs to be documented?

It is still not possible to offer any figures, but it is known that some people could not file their compensation forms, some fled to their far-away villages or moved to live with their relatives in other parts of Delhi. We have placed 40 notice boards in the North East district with helpline numbers so that people know how to approach us.
 

DMC


Survivors have lost livelihoods. What attempts are being made to help them re-start work?

The DMC is not mandated to do such kind of work. What we did was to intervene with the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to enhance the compensation announced and to cover more aspects, and this was done by the government within days. Still the compensation in our view is not adequate. The Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi should have stepped in but it has not. Private individuals and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are playing a very good role to fill this gap. Victims are being assisted to stand again on their feet and their houses and shops are being repaired by private and NGO help and we are coordinating and helping such activity.
 

Trust between the two communities has been lost. Muslims no longer feel safe enough to return to their old neighbourhoods. What is the solution to this intense ghettoisation in already crowded areas, which have their own challenges?

We are trying through our Peace Committee members in the area to intervene where possible but this is a Himalayan task since people who have seen their kin murdered, attacked and their houses and shops burnt will not be reassured by mere talk. I think people from the majority community should come forward to rebuild the burnt bridges. This is all the more important since we are getting reports that majority community people in some affected pockets are preventing the return of victims to their homes. It is a matter of sorrow that both the state and Union governments are not taking initiatives in this direction. This is a big challenge not only in the North East district of Delhi but in most parts of the country where Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities.
 

What are the challenges that survivors now have to deal with when the Covid-19 lockdown has been enforced till mid-April?

Most of the victims belong to the poor class who owned small businesses or were daily wage-earners. For such people, who do not have any assets or savings to fall back on, these next few weeks will be very difficult. They need sustained help during this period. We will try that the current phase of help continues until the end of April at least.
 

What about restrictions faced by relief workers due to the lockdown?

Relief workers and volunteers are still active but on a lower scale since Corona scare works both ways: victims do not want to come in contact with strangers and volunteers are apprehensive of going into congested slums where the possibility of infection is high. Also, problems of restricted movement as a result of strict curfew are restricting movements and work of volunteers. I think the momentum of the work will bounce back once the epidemic scare dies down.
 

Riot survivors have lost ID documents when their homes were gutted. How can they avail any government-aided relief?

This is the reason why compensation forms of some victims have not been accepted. DMC forms and volunteers are not demanding such documents. People can take time and procure copies of documents when things get normal. Where needed, we will not desist from intervention with concerned authorities to force them to issue duplicate copies of lost documents and for fair compensation to be paid to them. 
 

Is the DMC launching any relief work for the lockdown period?

The DMC is not mandated to do relief work on its own. We are working with some NGOs and individuals and helping them to carry out this work. If need be, we will intervene with the government.
 

Has the Commission called for more funds to meet increased needs due to the Covid-91 pandemic?

No. We have not taken any such step.
 

Why is Delhi Police picking up youth from N-East Delhi, have they responded to the Commission’s warning? How many youth are missing from that area?

This is a real problem that police are picking up youth randomly, pressuring them to accept their “guilt” or to implicate others. We have taken notice of this. We have not received any reply so far or maybe some reply has come but could not reach us because our offices like other Govt. offices are totally locked at present. 

As regards the missing persons, we do not know the numbers but it is a fact that some people are still missing. Most probably they were killed and dumped somewhere, like in nallas (sewers). I understand that some bodies are still lying in hospitals because these could not be identified by anyone. Hence the actual number of the violence victims is yet not known in exact terms.

Those who saw death and destruction, won't be reassured by mere talk

Hindutva forces trying to cause social rupture between communities 

dr zafrul

Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities says, Delhi Minority Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan. That the Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi did not step in when needed, has made matters worse. While it is known that  the compensation offered to riot victims is not adequate, even the measly amount is not accessible for many who have lost documents and not been able to file complaints. The assessment of damage is a mammoth task and long term relief planning will have to put in place. With Covid-19 lockdown most of this work has slowed down too. However, things hopefully will get back on track as volunteers and NGOs continue to step forward when the authorities fail to do enough.
 

In an exclusive interview with Sabrang India, he spoke to Karuna John.

 

The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) has been mapping the damage caused in North-East Delhi. Please share your assessment of the extent of damage .

Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) started the assessment of riot victims and their losses as part of its fact-finding committee’s work. The pressing reason was that we were getting reports that area Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) were rejecting forms, that police were not registering (First Information Reports) FIRs or was clubbing many complaints with one FIR, which meant that some, or many, victims will not get justice and compensation. So we designed elaborate assessment forms and our volunteers are going house-to-house and to camps, to fill the forms at the doorstep of the victims. We are also giving receipts, while SDMs were not giving receipts. We plan to track those victims who do not get compensation and will use our assessment forms to get them their dues. The work has been slowed down at present due to the curfew restrictions as a result of the Corona epidemic. It will pick up speed once the situation becomes normal.
 

What is the extent of damage that still needs to be documented?

It is still not possible to offer any figures, but it is known that some people could not file their compensation forms, some fled to their far-away villages or moved to live with their relatives in other parts of Delhi. We have placed 40 notice boards in the North East district with helpline numbers so that people know how to approach us.
 

DMC


Survivors have lost livelihoods. What attempts are being made to help them re-start work?

The DMC is not mandated to do such kind of work. What we did was to intervene with the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to enhance the compensation announced and to cover more aspects, and this was done by the government within days. Still the compensation in our view is not adequate. The Central Government, being directly responsible for the law and order in Delhi should have stepped in but it has not. Private individuals and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are playing a very good role to fill this gap. Victims are being assisted to stand again on their feet and their houses and shops are being repaired by private and NGO help and we are coordinating and helping such activity.
 

Trust between the two communities has been lost. Muslims no longer feel safe enough to return to their old neighbourhoods. What is the solution to this intense ghettoisation in already crowded areas, which have their own challenges?

We are trying through our Peace Committee members in the area to intervene where possible but this is a Himalayan task since people who have seen their kin murdered, attacked and their houses and shops burnt will not be reassured by mere talk. I think people from the majority community should come forward to rebuild the burnt bridges. This is all the more important since we are getting reports that majority community people in some affected pockets are preventing the return of victims to their homes. It is a matter of sorrow that both the state and Union governments are not taking initiatives in this direction. This is a big challenge not only in the North East district of Delhi but in most parts of the country where Hindutva forces are trying to cause social rupture between the two communities.
 

What are the challenges that survivors now have to deal with when the Covid-19 lockdown has been enforced till mid-April?

Most of the victims belong to the poor class who owned small businesses or were daily wage-earners. For such people, who do not have any assets or savings to fall back on, these next few weeks will be very difficult. They need sustained help during this period. We will try that the current phase of help continues until the end of April at least.
 

What about restrictions faced by relief workers due to the lockdown?

Relief workers and volunteers are still active but on a lower scale since Corona scare works both ways: victims do not want to come in contact with strangers and volunteers are apprehensive of going into congested slums where the possibility of infection is high. Also, problems of restricted movement as a result of strict curfew are restricting movements and work of volunteers. I think the momentum of the work will bounce back once the epidemic scare dies down.
 

Riot survivors have lost ID documents when their homes were gutted. How can they avail any government-aided relief?

This is the reason why compensation forms of some victims have not been accepted. DMC forms and volunteers are not demanding such documents. People can take time and procure copies of documents when things get normal. Where needed, we will not desist from intervention with concerned authorities to force them to issue duplicate copies of lost documents and for fair compensation to be paid to them. 
 

Is the DMC launching any relief work for the lockdown period?

The DMC is not mandated to do relief work on its own. We are working with some NGOs and individuals and helping them to carry out this work. If need be, we will intervene with the government.
 

Has the Commission called for more funds to meet increased needs due to the Covid-91 pandemic?

No. We have not taken any such step.
 

Why is Delhi Police picking up youth from N-East Delhi, have they responded to the Commission’s warning? How many youth are missing from that area?

This is a real problem that police are picking up youth randomly, pressuring them to accept their “guilt” or to implicate others. We have taken notice of this. We have not received any reply so far or maybe some reply has come but could not reach us because our offices like other Govt. offices are totally locked at present. 

As regards the missing persons, we do not know the numbers but it is a fact that some people are still missing. Most probably they were killed and dumped somewhere, like in nallas (sewers). I understand that some bodies are still lying in hospitals because these could not be identified by anyone. Hence the actual number of the violence victims is yet not known in exact terms.

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