Move to plots you bought, UP begins clearing riot camps

Muzaffarnagar Camps8-yr-old Nazia (left) stands near her hut that was razed at the Loi relief camp, Muzaffarnagar. (Oinam Anand)

After being widely criticised for its poor management of relief camps housing victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Uttar Pradesh government has begun evicting people living in these temporary shelters even as they struggled to cope with the extreme cold weather.

On Friday morning, 17 families in Loi camp woke up to an excavator digging up their shacks, asking them to move to adjacent plots they had bought using compensation paid by the government.

At another camp set up in a graveyard in Sanjhak village, where people had blocked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's cavalcade when he visited last week, the UP government Friday slapped charges of encroachment and damage to public property on 28 families, with authorities saying people living there were not "real riot victims".

Ruksana, 26, a resident of Fugana, was making tea for her three children at the Loi camp at around 7 am while the children, aged between one and three years, slept inside the shack that has been home for the last four months, when the Loi pradhan and SDM of the area came with the JCB excavator and asked them to pack up and leave immediately.

Ruksana, whose four-year-old son died due to the cold conditions in the camp two weeks back, said she cannot do anything for her other children who are now without a roof.

"My father-in-law has got the government compensation of Rs 5 lakh and has left the camp. My husband has three brothers, all have their separate families and none of them have got any financial help. I have lost one son, now the government is throwing my other three out in the cold, where do I go?" she asked as she gathered her utensils and a few blankets lying amid the mud and brick remains of her shack.

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