Delhi pogrom relief work 2020
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars need restructuring”
– Martin Luther King Jr
When the news of the violence broke due to anti-CAA/NRC protest; there was a growing uneasiness inside all of us. We just couldn’t sit idle and let the angry mob disrupt thousands of innocent lives. We decided to go to the North East Delhi and see for ourselves what could be done at ground zero.
But reaching there proved to be easier said than done; upon reaching Seelampur Metro we could see that all the areas have been barricaded and no one is allowed to move past them. We could see torched vehicles and flames of violence even from distance. Our team reached out to some of their journalist friends but they also advised us to stay away from the area.
But we couldn’t just leave the people in need there, and return to our homes, instead we decided to get some assistance from the local police station but alas police couldn’t really do much as they were outnumbered. On our persuasion we were able to get two police personnel to accompany us to assess the situation and rescue the victims.
On 26th of February, though the violence has been growing even after three days, we were able to rescue a family of 10. On the 27th the entire team reached North East Delhi. We did an assessment of the situation and provided basic medical help to the injured people.
We soon realized that, the residents of Shiv Vihar and its surrounding localities were not fortunate enough to be able to reside peacefully inside the comforts of their homes and the first and the foremost thing we decided to do in the riot relief work was to rescue and safely provide them a roof over their head.
We saw, that compassion was not dead in the affected areas and people were ready to work towards restoring disrupted lives. All they needed was some direction and a helping hand.
Apart from the roof over their heads we needed to provide a range of assistance ranging from food, clothing to medical, legal and financial help.
Al Islah Medical Camp.
We started with a medical assistance camp at the Al-Islah Public school, in new Mustafabad’s Babu Nagar. A team of 12 doctors including pediatric, gynae, general surgeon was present. Around 3000 victims and other locals were provided medical assistance. In the following days we put out medical camp in Shiv Vihar phase-3, phase-7 and Lal Bagh Mandi area.
We also put up a small medical team at Chaman Park on 27th of February. We were able to provide Al-Hind hospital with medical supplies and other necessary assistance.
Depending upon the situation of the patients we were able to send them to various hospitals and health center for better care and early recovery which included several pregnant women and elderly people.
Store House and Ration Center
On the 28th February, adjacent to Al-Islah Public school, we set up a store house and Ration Centre. The support from good samaritan and other collective bodies were overwhelming. We managed to store all the supplies and distribute ration and other essentials to the riot victims.
Along with the store house, we also set up a medical inventory to stock up with the necessary emergency medical supplies and gynecological equipment. We made sure we have sufficient amount of powdered milk for the infants and sanitary pads for the woman so as to make sure the most vulnerable people get the required care.
We got in touch with team of lawyers and started a legal support team to help the victims in filing their FIRs and other legal assistance. We helped these people to file the FIRs and claim all the support government was providing them.
We needed a place to plan and execute this whole relief and rehabilitation work. We managed to find a place opposite to the medical camp and set up a command center to interact with the victims, listen to their grievances and provide them with all the possible help we could. This place was also used for discussion of ideas and addressing the problems and the solution to those problems by the miles2smile team.
Temporary Rental Accommodations
Some families raised some concerns about sharing space with other families as they had young daughters of their own and they didn’t feel comfortable sharing private space with other men. So, we decided to get some rented accommodations for the families
Fact Finding Team
On that same day we set up a fact-finding team and send them to different riots affected areas. Our fact-finding team collected information, photos, video evidence and mapped the places where violence occurred along with other necessary data. We were able to reach out to the families of the deceased and record their first-hand experiences.