How Stigma over COVID Robbed Nizamuddin Locals of Jobs & Dignity

Now De-sealed Nizamuddin Basti Residents Feel Ostracised, Blame Media.

3 min read

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

In the fight against coronavirus, it’s critical that COVID-19 patients and their acquittances are not discriminated against. Containment of the locality they come from is essential but not ostracisation.
But the residents of Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi are exactly facing just that after a cluster of COVID-19 positives were found in Nizamuddin's Markaz building and parts Nizamuddin area were sealed.

The area was de-sealed on 7 June 2020, just a day after the RWA sent a legal notice to the DM (Southeast), Harleen Kaur, raising their concerns and highlighting the hardships faced by the residents of Nizamuddin Village.

Residents say that after the Markaz incident they have been tagged as 'spreader' of coronavirus wherever they go.

Indirectly affecting their livelihood prospects, people of the locality are not getting jobs. Locals claim that the moment employer finds out that they are from Nizamuddin, they deny the job or make some excuse.

Aslam* (name changed) recently got married, he lost his old job during the lockdown. He applied for a new job, the interview went well , he was expecting an appointment letter but the company never got back.

When I didn’t get the call, I reached out to them and they asked, ‘how far is Nizamuddin from the Markaz?’ Then I realised that they are trying to relate it to the Markaz, that’s why they are saying no.

Ration Shops To Hospitals, Basti Locals Feel Ostracised Everywhere

The residents say that they are either asked to stand at a distance, not allowed at some places or asked uncomfortable questions wherever they go.

Recently, my daughter-in-law and  son went to a hospital. She is pregnant, so they went for a routine check-up. They were asked from where they have come, to which they replied from Nizamuddin. First reaction was, ‘Oh, stand away from us.’
Stephen, Resident of Nizamuddin Basti
Yesterday, I went to Shidipura market to get some T-shirts printed. When I showed him the print and he read Nizamuddin, he refused. He said, he wouldn’t print.
Mohd. Umair, Runs a Waste Management Business

Mohd. Wakeel Gulzari, a shop owner near Nizamuddin Dargah recounts how he was denied entry in Kale Khan where he went to buy ration.

They had barricaded the area. They said there is no entry for the people from Nizamuddin and asked us to go back. We buy our ration from there only but they didn’t let us enter. So we returned. What to do?
Mohd. Wakeel Gulzari, Shop Owner

Nizamuddin Basti gets its name from the Dargah of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. It’s a spiritual centre and lot of livelihoods depend on the tourists and devotees who visit the Dargah. Locals fear that if people continue to tag Nizamuddin like this, then people might stop visiting the Dargah.

Some residents hold the media responsible for this stigmatisation.

Media has made Nizamuddin popular throughout the world, in a bad way. Given it a bad name. And the Markaz, skull caps and beards are even more maligned.
Mohd. Wakeel Gulzari, Shop Owner

RWA president, Yusuf Khan feels that the government needs to take the initiative for this discrimination to end.

Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is buried here and people from all faiths visit this place. So, I wish the government issues a guideline, so that the problem faced by the people living here ends.
Yusuf Khan, President, RWA

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!