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A month on, Dhule riot victims without govt. aid, food and shelter

Riot adds to burden of class 10 students; victims accuse state govt. of mocking Prime Minister's 15 point program

Thursday February 07, 2013 12:44:34 AM, Staff Reporter

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Dhule: Dozens of families, who lost their homes and livelihood in the communal riot which broke out in this North Maharashtra town exactly a month before on January 6, sans the government compensation are living either with relatives or in the damaged premises literally under an inhuman condition.


Without sufficient food and other basic facilities, the worst hit due to the state government's languorous approach are the "once school going" children specially those who are in class 10 and face board exams a fortnight later.


Mashkoor Khan (38) is among the victims who lost in the violence not only his shop but his entire house was ransacked by the violent mob on the fateful Sunday when riot broke out in the city after a minor scuffle over non-payment of a food-bill.


Living with his relatives since then, Mashkoor - owner of a footwear shop till a month before, is now under tremendous pressure as the government officials have no answer to his query of when and how he will get the compensation announced by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan a month after the riot.


"A month is a very long time. It has 30 days. It is nightmarish for us to spend even a day", he said while talking to looking helplessly at the debris of his damaged house.


Same is the case with the family of Mukhtar Ahmed Mohd Hasan. He was running a 'Wada Pav' stall just outside his house till January 06, the day violence broke out. A month before the riot, he had renovated the house using the money saved during the past few years. In the name of the house, what he has been left with now is just four walls completely blackened by smoke.


"There is no way for us to run our wada pav stall as of now. We are living with relatives and our first priority is to repair our damaged house so that we can shift there", he said.


The situation is more terrifying for the school going children, especially the SC students who are facing exams in few weeks time. Along with their house, their uniforms, textbooks and notebooks everything was set on fire.


“My textbooks contained important points written in the margins and my notebooks were ideal for fellow classmates. What can be more painful than the fact that the materials I had maintained with so much hard work would be ruined in such a way and I would be forced to borrow books and notes from friends at the time of exam”, said Khatik Shirin Yusuf, a SSC student.


Shirin is not the lone sufferer in the strife hit city. Samreen Iqbal and Shah Rukh Haneef – both in class-10 like Shirin, share with her the pain and anguish brutally unleashed on them just one and half month before the SSC exams.


Disturbed by the state government’s languorous approach and the time it is taking to disburse the compensation amount, local residents accused the government of being ignorant of the sufferings of the victims.


They also accused the government of mocking the guidelines on providing aid to people affected by communal violence as outlined in the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Program.

“The government leaves no stone unturned and spends huge amount to showcase the Prime Minister’s 15-point program. Situation in Dhule and sufferings of the victims demand its immediate implementation. People here are living outside their damaged houses in chilling cold. Students are unable to attend the classes. Yet the government is not doing anything” Masood Ahmed, a local resident, who helped the victims in completing the loss assessment said.


“It is not only intimidating but a mockery of the Prime Minister’s much publicised program”, he added.

Out of the 15 points in the Prime Minister’s flagship program announced in 2006, three points are devoted to preventing communal violence, and in case of such an eventuality, providing immediate relief to the victims.


Interestingly, a workshop was also held in Dhule in December last - barely a month before the riot, by the state government to sensitise the local officials about the program.


According to the loss assessment report submitted to the government, residential and commercial premises worth 1,37,52,650 rupees belonging to some 133 people had been looted, burnt or damaged besides leaving six persons dead and more than 200 others injured in the violence that broke out in the city on January 06.

“We have completed the survey of 133 people who have suffered losses in the violence. Out of them, shops and homes belonging to 29 people were found completely damaged”, Dhule city Tahsildar Shivkumar M. Awalkanthe, who led the eight different teams of local officials to complete the assessment, said.

He said though they had submitted the report to the state government, they were yet to receive any amount or guideline on the matter.


“No disbursement has been made so far to any riot victim as we are still waiting for the necessary directives and guidelines from the state”, he said.










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