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From legal aid to offering food, locals step up in Delhi

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
Last updated on: February 28, 2020 08:39 IST
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From providing legal counselling to offering food to the wearied people gathered outside the mortuary at the GTB Hospital in New Delhi, many good samaritans have volunteered to help the kin of those who have died in the riots in northeast Delhi.

IMAGE: Men ride a motorcycle past security forces patrolling a street in a riot affected area after clashes erupted between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law in New Delhi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

At the mortuary, scenes of grieving family members added to the sombre ambience. But in that milling crowd, two men in black coats could be seen assisting families in identifying bodies or informing them about their legal rights.

Farhan Azimi, who practices at Saket district court and Mumtaz Hashmi from Tis Hazari court jotted down details of victims and their family members in a register.


"We are taking down details, including name, address and phone numbers so that we can reach out to them in future. In many cases, victims are made the accused, as we have seen in the past. So, we want to give the families legal counselling so that they know their legal rights," Azimi said.

Asked what motivated him and his colleagues to help the riot-affected people, he said, "Amid hatred, we still see a ray of hope."

"So much of hatred has been spread, from election campaign days to the recent time. But, even in these difficult times, I feel that humanity is alive ('Insaniyat zinda hai')," he said, adding, "We offer help without exception; Hindu or Muslim identity is immaterial."

A group of volunteers from Old Seelmapur area who have been visiting the mortuary since Wednesday morning to help the grieving families said that people from both the communities have been affected by the riots and all that can be done is to help them in these difficult times.

"We get food prepared in an area at Old Seelampur, get packaged water and medicines in case of any emergency," said Salauddin Siddiquie, a volunteer.

Many families have been facing various issues here. They have to constantly run behind the investigating officer stay updated about the post-mortem of their loved ones, he said.

"While others are struggling to find their missing family members, our group of volunteers are here to help them with identification of bodies or in case they want any arrangement to be made for the last rites of their loved ones," he added.

Another group of volunteers from Shahid Nagar, Ghaziabad, have been visiting the mortuary since Wednesday morning with refreshments and water.

"We come here at noon with packaged water, fruits and biscuits. There is no shop near the mortuary area. So, we are trying to help the people in our own small way. Everyone has lost their loved one. People are coming from other states also to collect the bodies of their loved ones. They are already under stress," Amir Malik said.

The Public Work Department has set up a makeshift shelter for family members who are awaiting to collect bodies at the hospital.

"We have also placed a water dispenser here and a PWD staff will also be here to assist them," a PWD official said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.