Petition filed in Delhi HC to direct Delhi govt to reopen Mustafabad relief camp

The petitioners have also pleaded for appointment of a court commissioner to visit the riot-affected areas, relief camps and to file a report about the conditions

File photo of Mustafabad relief camp (Photo Courtesy: social media)
File photo of Mustafabad relief camp (Photo Courtesy: social media)
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Ashlin Mathew

Questioning the move by the Delhi government to arbitrarily close down the Mustafabad relief camp for the victims of the pogrom in northeast Delhi, a writ petition has been filed in Delhi High Court to direct the Delhi government to re-open the relief camp at Eidgah in Mustafabad and to provide inmates with food supplies, water, proper sanitation, and adequate security. The case is set to be heard on Friday, March 26.

The petitioners had initially moved the Supreme Court, but were directed by it to approach Delhi High Court. The writ petition has requested the court to direct the state government to publicly announce the re-opening of the camp.

The petitioners have also pleaded for appointment of a court commissioner to visit the riot-affected areas, relief camps and to file a report about the conditions and make recommendations on what is required immediately.

The petitioner has submitted in court that even though the Delhi government had agreed to set up three more camps, the state government did not inform the court about the forcible closure of the existing camp. “The Delhi government erroneously insists that the persons took small amounts of money and left voluntarily when the PM had announced a lockdown. It is disgraceful to suggest this. The victims were left to fend for themselves. This is despite contrary promises being made to the court,” stated the petition.

“We are also requesting the court to ensure that the state government doesn’t interfere or prevent the work of NGOs and journalists helping with the relief work,” explained Sneha Mukherjee, the lawyer for the petitioner.

This prayer comes after several of those involved in providing relief material to those at the Eidgah camp at Mustafabad were harassed on Thursday by the Delhi Police. “Until now, we were helping those affected by the violence in northeast Delhi with restocking homes with furniture, food materials and clothes. Yesterday, after the people were pushed out of the camp, we got several calls for food. Many people are starving. When we approached the SDM with this request, they said that because it was a lockdown, they would figure it out. But so far, no relief has reached them,” said Mohammad Murtaza (name changed to protect privacy), a person coordinating with relief work.

When several calls for food came, Murtaza had sent a few of his volunteers to verify those calls, but they were allegedly beaten up at Jaffarabad by police personnel, despite providing them wit the reason the were out. “After that no volunteer has stepped out. We approached the office of the Deputy Commissioner, but we were told that we don’t need to help the victims as the government was doing everything to help them. But, if the government was providing food, we would not be getting these calls incessantly,” underscored Murtaza.

“We are unable to help those who were forced out of the camp. Now, we do not know where all of them have gone too. We were verifying the phone calls and then wanted to provide them food. The government should give curfew passes to those helping with relief work,” added Murtaza.

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