Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI—Thirty-eight-year-old Gunjan Sachdeva had lost his life’s earning when his furniture shop on the main road in Moonga Nagar area of Northeast Delhi was reduced to ashes by a mob on February 24, 2020. He suffered a loss of Rs. 25 lakh approximately.
The compensation of Rs. 3 lakh that he received from the Delhi government was hardly enough to repair his shop and buy materials to operate his business again. He had no savings of his own to invest again in business. He made efforts to arrange money from different sources but failed.
While looking for someone to help him stand on his own feet again, he came in contact with the volunteers of the Vision 2026who were carrying out survey of the damaged properties to repair and rebuild them for their owners with a view to bringing them back to life.
“Vision 2026 people came to me like angels. They promised me to repair my shop and also provide the materials required for restarting my business”, Sachdeva said while talking to indiatomorrow.net.
“I reopened my shop about six months ago with the help of Vision 2026”, says Sachdeva.
“They not only repaired my shop but also paid to the vendor from whom I purchased materials to set up my business again”, Sachdeva said, profusely thanking Vision 2026 for what the organization did for him.
On the other side of the road and exactly opposite Sachdeva’s shop was a sanitary hardware and paint shop run by one Satpal Singh, a resident of nearby Bhajanpura. His shop was also torched by miscreants during the riots. Even his shop’s roof came down due to high temperature generated due to burning of paints and other chemical materials. Singh says that total loss to him was roughly around Rs. 90 lakh as his store behind the shop was also gutted completely.
“I was at a loss whom to approach to rebuild my shop and godown that required lot of money. No help came from any quarter. I have no income for the last one year. I have a college going daughter and two school going sons. It was very difficult to run even the family under such circumstances and it was almost impossible to arrange money for restarting the shop again”, he said.
“Ultimately, someone introduced me to volunteers of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) a few months ago. They promptly rebuilt my shop and godown. Now the Vision 2026 is arranging to provide me the materials for my shop so that I can run my business again”, says Singh. His shop is less than 100 metres away from the house of ex-AAP corporator Tahir Hussain who has been booked by the police for his alleged role in inciting the violence.
There were hundreds of people in this part of Northeast Delhi who lost their houses and sources of livelihood during three days of violence that erupted on February 23, 2020, after a speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra near an anti-CAA protest site in Jafrabad. As many as 53 persons were killed, hundreds of others injured and properties, including houses and shops, mostly belonging to Muslims, set ablaze by marauding gang of youths having covered their faces with masks and carrying guns, knives and other weapons. While many people received compensation from the Delhi government which was not adequate to rebuild their properties, majority of the victims say they did not receive any compensation and were helped by NGOs including Vision 2026, Society for Bright Future, Human Welfare Foundation, Human Welfare Trust, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind that supported them in resuming their life after the riots.Shahid, a resident of Khajuri Khas, had escaped along with his family with police help when the mob came to attack the area. “My house was looted and burnt by the mob. My autorickshaw parked outside my house was set ablaze. My house was completely destroyed and it was not worth living. Vision 2026 has now built my house and provided me source of livelihood by donating an e-rickshaw to me”, said Shahid.
Vision 2026 has also rebuilt the clinic of Dr. Dharampal in Shiv Vihar that was burnt down by the rioters. Dr. Dharampal, who was running his clinic for the last 15 years, faced deep financial crisis as he had no money to reconstruct his clinic and operate it again. But Vision reinvented his life by rebuilding the entire clinic and financing for medicines and equipment. His Suryavansh, a 9th class student, was also given scholarship. Shiv Vihar was among the worst hit by the riots.
Vision 2026 is also constructing a two-storeyed house of Mohammed Nafees in Khajuri Khas, adjoining Karawal Nagar. “My four-storeyed house was blasted with LPG cylinders by the mob”, says Mohammed Nafees, who worked as a videographer with 99acres.com, a youtube channel providing information regarding real estate. “Vision 2026 is now rebuilding two stories of my house to ensure our family has a roof over our head”, he says, adding that he is facing a police case because he had to protect his house from the miscreants when they initially came to attack the Muslim houses in Khajuri Khas.
Sharief Hussain, who was running a tailoring workshop and stitching coat-pant suits for many branded companies, incurred a loss of over 20 lakhs. Speaking to indiatomorrow.net, he said there were 20,000 pieces of coat-pants in his workshop when the riots took place. “Everything was gutted as the building in which his workshop was located was set afire”, he said. He said that he was able to resume his business activities after the assistance from Vision 2026 that not only repaired his workshop but also provided sewing machines. Hussain, who set up his workshop again in October 2020, currently employs 30 workers. According to Hussain, he filed a police complaint regarding the damage to his workshop and losses but no compensation was paid to him by the state government. He said that was the responsibility of the state government to protect life and property of the citizens and hence, they should recompense the losses in the event of the government having failed to provide security.
According to P K Naufal, Chie Executive Officer (CEO) of Human Welfare Foundation that runs the Vision, his organisation has so far rehabilitated 250 riot-hit families and provided livelihood means by providing them commercial vehicles, autorickshaws, bikes, cycles, e-rickshaws, sewing machines, vegetable carts, kiosks and stocks for shops. It has so far renovated or reconstructed 91 houses, given financial assistance to 40 orphans, 14 widows and provided scholarships to 89 meritorious students whose families were severely affected by the riots.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Delhi Zone, that is also engaged in rehabilitation of riot-hit victims has so far provided livelihood support to 73 victims by providing them, e-rickshaws, cylce, bike/scooty, hand cart, cloth kits, battery operated cart and laptops, repaired 54 shops and rebuilt 21 houses that were completely destroyed in the riots. Besides, the Jamaat also provided financial support to 90 other victims and supplied furniture and kitchen utensils to 52 families who had lost everything in the riots. JIH(Delhi Zone) president Abdul Waheed said that work on more than a dozen rehabilitationhe projects were still on in the riot hit areas.