In a Muzaffarnagar Riot Resettlement Colony, We Met a Belieber

The riot-affected children living in this colony still nurture their big dreams.

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Hina Parveen is only seven and has already seen a riot. The little marble enthusiast had to leave her three-bedroom house during the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. She now lives with her family in a brick hut in a resettlement colony in Khanpur.

Marble Enthusiast

(Photo: Vivek Das/The Quint)
Seven-year-old Hina Parveen is watching ‘Qubool Hai’ on her Celkon handset.
We had a beautiful house and my father had a shop in Pataudi. When I ask my mother about why we had to leave, she says we left because of the riots.
Hina Parveen, Muzaffarnagar riot victim

The Muzaffarnagar riots of September 2013 resulted in 62 recorded deaths, at least seven officially acknowledged rapes, and over 50,000 Muslims living in tented riot-relief camps through the winter of 2013.

The displacement has taken a toll on children. The experience instills fear in them and can haunt them for months and years after the riot. Seventeen-year-old Tawheed, even today, vividly remembers the night they had to hide from the mob.

A Belieber

(Photo: Vivek Das/The Quint)
Tawheed taking tuitions in the resettlement colony of Khanpur.
It was midnight, around 12 or 1 am. The mob was shouting, ‘Kill them, hack them.’ They were around 200, 300 people. We were hiding in a room. All scared for our lives. Even a little sound could have got us killed.
Tawheed, Muzaffarnagar Riot Victim

Tawheed’s father is a daily-wage earner. He has given up cricket and all kinds of sport to focus on his studies. He wants to become an IAS officer to improve his family’s financial situation.

In his free time, Tawheed plays Bieber’s songs on YouTube on loop. He is the only celebrity that he ever wants to meet, says the belieber.


The Colony Engineer

(Photo: Vivek Das/The Quint)
Mudassir studying his course book. 

Reading out a passage from his course book, Class 2 student Mudassir, told us he really enjoys studying English. He wants to get a better grip on the language as he believes English will make him a better engineer.

Mudassir isn’t the only kid of the colony who thinks so. The children are obsessed with the language. They all believe it can change their fate.

Camera: Vivek Das and Vatsala Singh
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

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