Thursday, January 12, 2017

Two Refugees + Camp, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2013


This was the scene when I first visited this region in 2013, as these beautiful people were paying the price for the sectarian violence placed upon their shoulders. The families were doing their best to just provide shelter for their children, to provide a plate of food. Our hosts did something remarkable then, they gave their land for the sake of these refugees, actually signed the deeds to their land. It was this act of generosity which helped me decide that my work will continue here, and inspired me to present this new school to all of you!

They were displaced due to the riots in the Muzaffarnagar region of Uttar Pradesh. A short summary is included below from Wikipedia for everyone's review, and of course is only a basic reference. My experience was firsthand, and showed me the best of humanity in the midst of the worst. The scene of course was created by the latter, yet the resources put forth to aid the community showed the best of the former. 

When I returned to the region two years later, most of the camps were dismantled and the families had returned to their original villages. Although as a photographer I missed the children photographed two years earlier, I was truly happy that the were missing and back home.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2.

According to Wikipedia:

The clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India in August–September 2013, resulted in at least 62 deaths including 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus and injured 93 and left more than 50,000 displaced. By 17 September, the curfew was lifted from all riot affected areas and the army was also withdrawn.

The riot has been described as "the worst violence in Uttar Pradesh in recent history", with the army, as a result, being deployed in the state for the first time in last 20 years. Supreme Court of India while hearing petitions in relation to the riots held the Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party, prima facie guilty of negligence in preventing the violence and ordered it to immediately arrest all those accused irrespective of their political affiliation. Court also blamed the Central government for its failure to provide intelligence inputs to the Samajwadi Party-ruled state government in time to help sound alerts.