New Delhi: Muslim women who survived the communal riots of North East Delhi – which killed over 50 – are now the “khalasis” of Personal Protective Equipment kits for COVID-19.
Talking to Karvaan India, one of the women said, “We were left with nothing by our side until some people working as relief volunteers came to our rescue. They bought stitching machines for us and asked us to restart our work.”
“Now that we have skills, and we wanted to give it back to society, what else could be better than contributing to fight against COVID? At the moment there is news everywhere that in the fight against a virus, there is a shortage of PPE kits, we wanted to fill in the gap with our small efforts,” she added refusing to be identified as she fears Delhi police may cease their efforts.
“I want to remain anonymous and want to do the good work. See what they did to Kafil Khan for doing good work. We don’t want to become a target like him,” she said.
Post Delhi violence, an organisation led by IIT Delhi scholar Aasif Mujtaba was closely working with the survivors of pogrom and helped this group of women buy raw material and stitching to restarts their livelihood, The Karvaan reported.
Talking to Karvaan India, Aasif said, “I am myself surprised. These little acts will keep humanity alive. They were attacked for being Muslims, but now they have developed PPE kits for warriors against Corona across faith and religion, this shows their courage and resilience to restore humanity and at the same time fight for their rights.”
“During the first week of our visit to Shiv Vihar somewhere around March 2, I was approached by few women who had lost their stitching work because of the pogrom. The rioters burnt their house and their source of livelihood, But they wanted to start the stitching work asap. To rehabilitate the business, we bought two automatic Stitching machines ( they call it ghuggi) and gave it to them along with some money to buy the raw materials. And today, for a surprise, they came with 2000, 3-Ply masks and 100 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) ` kits. They requested me to give it all to the needy and the poor. Their gesture moved me. They might have lost every other thing in the pogrom but humanity. The 45th day of relief and rehabilitation work at Shiv Vihar, It seems, was extraordinarily different and full of hope.”
www.miles2smile.org has been working with survivors of Delhi violence for the past one and a half month.