UP riot victims still vulnerable at camps

Protests after 62-year-old dies of cold

The death of an old woman at a relief camp in Muzaffarnagar district reportedly from cold has triggered an outrage among rights activists and Muslim leaders.

With mercury dipping to almost two degree celsius in Muzaffarnagar, the activists have warned that more people can fall prey to cold in the days to come if immediate measures are not undertaken by authorities.

“Uttar Pradesh government's priorities are different. It seems that the lives of the displaced riot victims is not on the priority list”, said Shehzad Poonawala, who was associated with All India Muslim Agenda, an apolitical and multi-religious organisation.

Speaking to Deccan Herald over telephone, Poonawala said that the district magistrate of Muzaffarnagar had claimed that there were no relief camps in the district currently.

“UP government appears to be in a mode of denial. There seems to be an operation cover up”, he said decrying the apathetic attitude of the government toward the riot victims. He said that more deaths could not be ruled out at the camps in the days to come.

Sixty-two-year old Mehmoodan, who had been living in a tent at Shahpur in Muzaffarnagar district had reportedly died from cold on Wednesday. The other inmates at the relief camps also held a demonstration in protest against poor arrangements there.

There were also reports that many children have fallen sick owing to the biting cold at relief camps in riot hit Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. Around half a dozen children have fallen sick because of the cold at the make shift relief camp at Parsauli, where hundreds of displaced riot victims had taken shelter after being evicted from Loi in Muzaffarnagar district.

The victims, who have refused to return to their native villages and also refused to vacate the relief camps until they were paid compensation, had been living at an abandoned factory premises at Parsauli after their eviction.

As many as 62 people were killed and over one hundred injured in the communal violence that had rocked the district in September last year.

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