Communal violence is one of the biggest scourges that India is faced with. The country has had a history of riots, and by the time the scars of one violence heals, another riot breaks out. Innocent people are attacked and earnings of a lifetime are made to go up in smoke. The 2020 Delhi riots have left such a deep wound that it continues to fester even after over a year.
Shobharam Verma of Delhi’s Moonga Nagar was a victim of Delhi riots in 2020. He lost everything: his income, his house. Moved to the brink of tears, his words tend to haunt you for long: “Malik toh jhel lega, main gareeb kaise jhelunga?” (the landlord would be able to withstand the loss, but how would a poor man like me do so?)
Verma, who belongs to the scheduled caste community, used to earn a living pulling rickshaws. He also worked as a night guard at a furniture workshop. The top floor of the workshop had served as Verma’s residence for the past 30 years; it had been rented to him for free by the landlord.
When communal riots broke out in Delhi, mobs targeted a Shiva temple. The furniture workshop where Verma lived acted as a buffer between the attackers and the temple. The mob, therefore, started throwing petrol bombs at the workshop from the other end of the street. Verma and his family were driven out of their home and had to take refuge at a neighbour’s place. When Verma returned to the workshop, they found the entire structure turned to ashes.
Our founders, Swati Goel Sharma ans Sanjeev Newar, met and comforted Verma. He was distraught and inconsolable. We asked him the details of his bank account to which some financial assistance could be sent. However, a devastated Verma revealed, while fighting back tears, that the rioters had burnt down all his documents and he did not have even his caste certificate with him. Somehow, we found a way to assist him.
The aim of Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has been to reach out to all riot-affected families personally, and at least provide some monetary assistance with which they can start life afresh. The venom of communal hatred has paralysed many people, who have not even been remotely party to the dark political machinations that often lead to riots. Do support us so that we can help people like Verma, who are left homeless, jobless and hopeless as a result of communal violence.