A harsh winter
The UP government has abdicated its responsibility towards victims of the Muzaffarnagar violence
Three months after communal conflict forced large numbers of Muslim families to flee their homes and villages, they are at risk from the elements. The onset of winter has reportedly claimed several lives in relief camps. Most appallingly, nearly 40 children, including newborns, have died because of exposure to the cold, the lack of warm clothing and adequate shelter. Though the district administrations dispute these figures, reports of the lived experience in these camps confirm that state assistance has been feeble. Those who are still huddled in camps are overwhelmingly poor families who have little to rely on apart from the relief provided by the administration and community groups.
There have been hundreds of weddings among these families, compelled, in part, by the sense that single young women were vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault. There has been illness and death leading directly from the dislocation and squalid conditions in the camps. The state authorities must know that their delay and inefficiency is taking such a terrible toll.