At an Asansol Recovery Camp: Fear, Trauma and a Longing For Home
Some can’t go back home fearing trouble, others don’t have a home to go back to.
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
In an area ominously named the ‘Blue Factory’ area of West Bengal’s Asansol town, two shabbily painted BPL flats now house 200 Hindu families. They are families displaced by the recent communal clashes in the city, that killed two and caused widespread destruction. Many of these families have had their houses burnt down. Others, are too scared to go back, lest something happen again.
One of the first people we met at the facility was 26-year-old Pinky Devi, a mother of three, with her youngest being 5 months old. She lives in 10x9ft room with the children and her younger sister. Her husband works in Maharashtra, while she looks after the children herself. As we continue with our conversation, a tear rolls down Pinky’s cheek.
“Why are you crying?” I ask her.
“How can I not cry, madam?” she said. “They burnt my house, my shelter. As soon as we came out of the house, they burnt everything down and took all our stuff. I couldn’t even dress my child. All the money I’d saved for my daughter was taken away.”
A floor below, 16-year-old Khushboo Prasad just got back from a history exam. She’s writing her class 12 board exams. The first two papers were great, she says, but the clashes took their toll on this one.
The fact that I’m living here... the commotion, the riots... everything led me to forget what I had studied. I wish I could stay at home and study. But I can’t go back home now.Khushboo Prasad to The Quint
Like Khushboo and Pinky, many families have moved to these apartments because they either feared violence back home or had their homes burnt down. At the recovery centre run by the RSS, they are given food, shelter and medicines. To know about more such families, watch the video, in Part Two of our ground report from Asansol.
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