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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Muzaffarnagar: Fear lives with the displaced in relief camps

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Muzaffarnagar/Ghaziabad, September 15, 2013
First Published: 00:14 IST(15/9/2013) | Last Updated: 00:17 IST(15/9/2013)

Sahira is expecting her first child in less than a month. But fear continuously plays on her mind. "I cannot forget the day when I ran through the fields for my life," says the 23-year-old who fled from Dhanaura village in Muzaffarnagar during the recent communal clashes.

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Sahira has taken shelter at a madrassa in Loni, as have 30 other women in advanced stages of pregnancy.

More than 1,500 migrants from western UP have taken shelter with their relatives or in madrassas in Ghaziabad town. And over 30,000 displaced people are in 18 relief camps at various places in Budhana, Shahpur and other areas of Muzaffarnagar.

The fear and anguish is palpable. "Women are the worst sufferers in this violence. It is complete failure on part of the government which failed to check the rioters," said 75-year-old Vakila from Kutla village. "During the previous (Mayawati) government, no such clashes took place," she added.

Consoling each other inside a madrassa, women slam the UP government for the violence and their sufferings. "We had faith in the government but it failed us. Women and children have suffered due to politicians," said Abida from Kishanpur Birad village in Baghpat district. "We will give them a befitting reply in the coming elections."

Noorjahan, 25, from Nagla village in Baghpat district, doesn't know if her husband and 10-year-old daughter are even alive. "There is no news about them. Who should I ask? Politicians are responsible for our sufferings. Nobody has come to our help," she says.

Loni SDM Keshav Kumar is aware of the situation. "At present, we are focusing on relief measures, proving them food, clothing, medical aid and other amenities. As for rehabilitation, it is a policy matter. We are conducting surveys and preparing lists of people who have arrived from the violence-hit areas, which will be forwarded to the respective districts."

'Won't go back'
A majority of the riot victims are not willing to go back to their villages. "I would prefer to die here than to go back. Nobody is waiting for us there," says Basheeran from village Laank. Her husband was killed in the communal violence. Depressed, Yusuf of Kutba village says: "Jab tak camp hai yanhi rahoonga, uske baad sadak per rahoonga par gaon nahi jaoonga (I'd rather die in this camp)."


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