A tin-shed buffalo shelter is the new accommodation for at least three Muslim families, whose houses were demolished by the state administration during a drive against illegal encroachment on government lands in the riot-hit Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh.
With the mercury soaring to 41-degree Celsius in the town, the homeless families have expressed their gratitude to a family which allowed them to stay in its buffalo shelter.
The women are somewhat happy that they have found a place to prepare meals to feed their children during the month of Ramadan.
Amjad Khan, whose house was built under the PM Awas Yojna (PMAY) but was bulldozed by the district administration, is among those who have made the buffalo shelter their new accommodation to survive with his wife and little children.
Talking to IANS, Khan said that after losing his own house, the family was forced to survive on the mercy of others.
“We would eat whatever people would give us. We have lost everything. We don’t even have a bucket to store water. Despite having everything till a few days back, we are living on mercy of others now,” he said.
Khan further informed that a team of government officials visited him and asked to shift to a ‘dharamshala’ where they will get food and shelter, but he refused to shift.
When asked why, Khan replied, “I can’t trust the government any more.”
However, Khargone District Collector P. Anugraha’s reply on this matter contradicts Khan’s claims.
“The family whose PMAY house was demolished is living at the same place where they were living before the house got demolished,” Anugraha told IANS.
The Collector claimed that the family was not living in that house even before it got demolished.
“They were living in a different place and using the PMAY house for cattle shelter. The house was sanctioned for residential purpose, but during inspection it was found that the building was being used for other purposes. The house was demolished after proper inspection was carried out and after receiving reports from the Tehsildar,” Anugraha said.
Commenting on the present situation in the riot-hit area, the District Collector informed that the situation is peaceful.
“Curfew has been partially relaxed in the town from today. The women are allowed to set out to buy essential items between 10 am and 12 pm and again from 3 pm to 5 pm.”
The curfew was imposed in Khargone after communal violence erupted in the area during a Ram Navami procession on April 10.
Several houses were set on fire and several police officers, including the Khargone district SP, got injured in the clash between the two committees.
Following this, the state government ordered to take action against those involved in the riots. Since then, more than 50 buildings (houses and shops) have been bulldozed in Khargone town alone, and nearly 100 people have been arrested.