This February marks one year of the racist attack that happened in the capital. This is the sixth part of the Madhyamam investigation regarding the current status of the riot victims. Read the previous part here.
When I reached North-East Delhi after the communal riots in February last year, several organisations were offering legal aid in addition to those offering relief. They camped in the riot-affected areas, and camps organised for victims and heard the victims' woes, offering them free legal assistance.
But after a year, despite paying thousands and even lakhs, several victims find it difficult to find trustworthy lawyers. Most of those who came offering free legal aid never returned. Several got Vakalatnamas signed through agents as they do in vehicle accident compensation cases. A majority of the victims in North-East Delhi have submitted their vakalats to such agents.
Hence, one could not take those cases back from them. This posed an obstacle to those socio-religious organisations and human rights collectives, like Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind, who came forward with legal help. To get these cases back from the agents, they had to meet directly the lawyers who had up to fifty cases, and convince them that the expenses to do the cases would be covered.
The organisations paid amounts ranging from 40,000 to 80,000 rupees to advocates for each case. In Khazoori Khas, where nearly 50 houses and establishments were burnt, even those who had losses amounting to crores didn't file an FIR naming the attackers. The detailed description of events to be added in the petition was absent in several. Most of them registered FIRs as a requirement to get compensation from the government.
Muqeem, who lost his establishment to arson and ended up with more than a crore rupees' loss, also registered an FIR without the names of the accused. His company in Khazoori Khas manufactures sewing machine boards for export. Even though his factory has been rebuilt and is running, he has no hopes of the case moving forward or of getting justice. A representative of the Association For Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Adv Shuaib Inamdar, says that the real problem will arise when the trial starts with the charge sheets filed on Delhi communal riots.