Debby Rai for BeyondHeadlines
As she peeps through the torn tarpaulin sheet that was supposedly placed to shield her kids from the curse of winter, this young yet debilitating woman waits ceaselessly for nothing else than her lost ‘life’. And this yearning for life can breathe easy if her children can get back on track in terms of their education or her seven-month pregnant sister can get at least some accessible medical attention.
Sabina (name changed) is just one of those thousands of women who continue to languish in a handful of operational relief camps (sans relief) post the Muzaffarnagar riots, that are yet to be allegedly targeted by the ‘goons’ employed for the purpose of persuading the people to vacate the camps. Some of these areas are Loyi, Karaina Shamli Jaula, Malakpura, Sunehati and Barnawi.
“Some influential landlords of various areas hailing from both the communities are forcing the people to evacuate the camps. The irony remains that although some people are provided with the rented accommodation, some lesser fortunate ones don’t even have a substitute”, said Shyamveer Rathi, a lawyer and social activist in Muzaffarnagar.
On asked why the displaced don’t return to their own houses, Rathi reiterated that they are too scared to go back to their own villages. “They can’t dare to trust their own neighbours post the deadly attacks. The rape survivors who have named their assaulters in the FIRs fear for their lives. How is it possible for them to still muster courage as their attackers are still roaming free?” wonders Rathi.
The destiny although continues to play cruel with those displaced and striving for life in the relief camps – courtesy, the UP government. Be it a prompt medical assistance or opportunity for uninterrupted education, the government has so far acted neglectful and uninterested.
“Medical facilities here are no lesser than eyewash. The tall claims made by the government can be proved deceitful at a mere visit to these camps. Only basic medicines related cold, diarrhea or fever, are available at a couple of medical camps. The patents requiring specialized medical attention are either shooed away or referred to the nearby government hospitals, which are of no help either”, said Zeeshan Mohammad, one of the camp dwellers.
The pregnant women are the worst hit. As majority of the displaced lost their lands, the daily wages earned by them can’t fight off the dearth of nutritious food, prompt medical facilities or even a lady-gynecologist provided by the government is a distant thing.
“The unfortunate deaths of the newborns and still births in the camps can’t be forgotten by the bereaved families. It is solely because of the lack of swift medical aid that could have otherwise saved the newborns”, alleged one of the AIDWA (All India Democratic Women’s Association) members.
She also alleged that due to the lack of medical facilities, some of the kids under the age of twelve also lost the battle for life as they contracted diseases like Pneumonia and Dysentery.
When it comes to safeguarding one’s life, aspects like education are bound to take a backseat. But, the innocent minds, who are probably oblivious of this wind of hatred, are craving to go to school again. “Some of the children have enrolled themselves in the nearby madrassas, whereas some volunteers from these madrassas come to the camps on regular basis and teach the small kids”, informed Rathi.
He however expressed concern over the academic loss of some students who were in their crucial phase of board exams, but could not continue their studies.
One wonders that why these seemingly harmless villages still give a feel of palpable restlessness despite the claims of the UP government of situation having returned to normalcy. Sabina, in the meanwhile still awaits her lost ‘life’!