They survived the bloody riots in September, but the winter chill seems determined to do some real harm to over 50,000 people displaced during the Muzaffarnagar riots and now living in dozen-odd relief camps. One of these – Malakpur relief camp in Shamli district — in pictures offers no respite to riot-affected people – women, aged and children alike. The December chill has reportedly claimed lives of 34 children so far. More are likely to lose the battle against damp and dew in the coming month not because the winter will get harsher but because those in the seats of power have already displayed their callous attitude for the plight of the victims – living under tarpaulin covers for three months now. These images reflect the minimum protection that the riot victims have against the brutal winter, and cold response from the concerned authorities. (Photo: IANS)

NEW DELHI (IANS) – Amnesty International on Saturday castigated the Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for doing little to ensure justice and rehabilitation for the survivors of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal violence.

On the fifth anniversary of the deadly riots in Muzaffarnagar district that claimed at least 60 lives and displaced over 50,000 people, the Amnesty International India blamed the state government’s apathy for seven gang-rape survivors still awaiting justice and the displaced continuing to look for rehabilitation.

“The Uttar Pradesh government has forgotten the riot survivors of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. The state has done very little to redress the injustice they have faced. The government’s attempt at rehabilitation and compensation has been woefully inadequate”, said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.

She said justice remained elusive for the seven gangrape survivors who have received little assistance from authorities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

“There has not been even one conviction in any of the seven cases so far. In 2016, one of the survivors died during childbirth,” she said.

Quoting one of the survivors, a mother of five, Amnesty International India said the victims have lost all hope of getting justice and are now hoping for survival of their families.

“Their rapists are out in the open for years now. Women are scared to pursue their cases and they cannot be blamed for this. There are media reports of compromises being made and of money being offered and accepted by many of the seven families. We need to understand the realities in which these women have survived all these years. They are scared and have lost all faith in the system,” said Rehana Adeeb, an activist working with the survivors.

The rights body said an overwhelming majority of families in resettlement colonies lack access to basic services like clean drinking water and drainage facilities.

“The Uttar Pradesh government’s callous treatment of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli riot survivors is a breach of its commitment to uphold basic constitutional values. The riot survivors have been forced to live in a vicious cycle of poverty and discrimination. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister must ensure that the voices of the survivors are heard immediately, and justice is delayed no further”, added Basu.