Delhi burnt at the start of last year as rabid mobs ran amok on the streets, looting, killing and vandalising as the entire world watched in horror. The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act soon assumed communal colours and innocent people with no stake in the protests suffered. So the capital was hit by misfortune even before the pandemic struck, and when the pandemic did strike, families were completely devastated.
Amar Kumar, a resident of northeast Delhi, which was the epicentre of the riots, had his shop burnt down during the riots. His house was looted and mobs assaulted him as well. Amar’s family lost everything. The lockdown came close on the heels of the riots and Amar’s family sank deeper into crisis. The family had no way to sustain itself. One of our volunteers met him and his family members during our riot rehabilitation drive. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation supported Amar and his family in whatever way that we could. We continued to support Amar later too.
Giriraj Sharma from Delhi’s Maujpura area sustained severe head injuries after a mob attacked him with an iron rod. He said he was beaten up for trying to protect a temple in his area. Giriraj had multiple stitches on his head. As a result of the injury, he had to miss work and also had to shell out a lot of money for his treatment. Not being from a well-to-do family, Giriraj struggled to bear all the expenses. When our volunteers shared Giriraj’s story with our founders, they made it a point that all possible help can be delivered to Giriraj and his family.
Vinod (name changed) and his three friends were caught unawares on February 24 last year when they had ventured out of their house to buy milk. Vinod and his friends were attacked within 200m of his house. Vinod sustained head injuries. They were shell-shocked and left to die. Vinod and his friends were somehow rescued and received medical assistance. They still can’t believe what happened to them on that fateful February day. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation extended help to Vinod as part of its riot rehabilitation drive.
Rajendra Kumar Arora of northeast Delhi’s Moonga Nagar area also received help from our riot rehabilitation fund. A street vendor by profession, the elderly Arora used to run a small shop. One day, he had raised the shutters of his shop as usual. The area was in the grip of a pogrom at that time. Little did Arora know that he would soon be faced with the darkest day of his life. A bloodthirsty mob attacked and vandalised his shop, throwing all his belongings onto the street. Arora ran for his life. With our help, he was able to set up his shop again. The elderly Arora’s fight even after such a massive tragedy is extremely inspiring.
Shishpal, a tea-seller, from Moonga Nagar also has a similar story to share. Moonga Nagar falls in northeast Delhi, which was one of the areas worst hit by the riots. His shop was attacked and vandalised by a mob. Shishpal had gone to open his shop when he came under attack. Traumatised, Shishpal tried to save his only source of income but failed. He ran for his life. The riots left Shishpal with a broken cart and lost hope. Our volunteers met Shishpal and extended support. Then when the going got tough during the lockdown, we provided him with ration kits as well.
Another resident of Moonga Nagar who faced the brunt of the riots was Pooran Singh. He is from a lower middle-class background and lived in a big joint family. The family was somehow managing to survive, but the riots brought about large-scale destruction. A mob targeted Pooran’s house, pelted stones at it and vandalised the belongings, not even sparing the ration that was there in the house. The distressed family, seeing our sewa work, approached us. We transferred an immediate relief fund and also provided the family with essential supplies.
Subhash Gupta from northeast Delhi used to run a garment shop and a godown. Mobs went on the rampage in his area and Gupta’s shop and belongings were gutted. Even his house was partially burnt. The lockdown that followed made Gupta’s situation even worse. His savings had run thin and his shop needed renovation before it could open again. We met him during our riot rehabilitation drive and helped him with an immediate fund transfer and also with essential supplies.
Kaushal and family members, who belong to the scheduled caste category, were left in terrible trauma after the riots. They witnessed severe damage to their property and things went from bad to worse as a result of the lockdown. The income source of the family was badly disrupted and the family members sought our help. We were happy to support Kaushal and his family members with our riot rehabilitation fund.
Somdutt, who had migrated to Delhi from Rajasthan’s Alwar and was working in the capital, was stabbed with a knife during the riots. Somdutt belongs to a lower-middle-class family. We met him and his family after we came to know of their plight. The family members burst into tears while narrating the story of the assault. Somdutt’s condition was serious when we met him in the hospital. After recovering a little, he went back to his village and is yet to return to Delhi. Even after he had left Delhi, we were in contact with him.
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