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India: For Delhi Riot Victims, Legal Camps Offer Lone Hope for Justice

Sunday 15 March 2020, by siawi3


For Delhi Riot Victims, Legal Camps Offer Lone Hope for Justice

Gurav Vivek Bhatnagar

15.03.20 5hours ago

At legal camps in Chaman Park and Mustafabad, lawyers, law students and volunteers have been helping violence victims fill up compensation forms, follow their status and file police complaints, The Wire’s Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar reports.

He writes, “On hearing that a legal camp has been set up in Lane No. 5 of Chaman Park in Mustafabad area by the Citizens Collective for Peace, a group of individuals and civil society organisations, Rukhsana had immediately set off for it.

“A resident of Bapu Nagar, which was one of the many colonies to witness large scale arson and violence over three days beginning February 24, she was among the lucky ones who escaped with injury or loss of property. But she lost her livelihood as the families she worked for as a domestic help had to flee the area.

“The camp set up in a lane of Chaman Park on Brijpuri road has been doing yeoman service for those affected by the violence.

“As lawyer Nilesh Jain pointed out, this is the eighth such camp that has been organised since violence erupted. “The group came together on February 25 to provide relief to victims of violence. We have lawyers and law students who are filling the compensation forms and drafting complaints to be filed at police stations. Then we also accompany the complainants to the police stations wherever they so desire.”

Tracking claims

“He pointed out how problems remain with the system of filing complaints or while applying for compensation. “No token number was earlier issued for compensation claims and so people found it difficult to follow up on their status. Initially SDM office had no system in place, but later they began sending SMS with a reference number to the complainants.”

“Also, he said, while initially claims were not being received without daily diary (DD) numbers issued by police for a complaint or FIR, later they began accepting forms with Aadhaar numbers.

Lawyers to work pro bono for those charged with violence

“Stating that the police is required to produce whoever they intend to arrest within 24 hours of the start of their detention, Jain said incidents of violations of the norm were many. “We have over 100 complaints of people being detained for long durations. In many cases, the families were not told that their members have been arrested and produced in court. Whenever we come to know we appear in court, file an affidavit and apply for bail.”

“On the future course of action, he said, “When we will have details of FIRs, we will make bunches of five to 10 cases and approach and request the law chambers to provide pro bono legal help to these people. Around 30 law chambers have asked us to share such cases with them.””