Friday, May 4, 2012

Relief cheques for 75-year-old riot victim bounces 

Relief cheques for 75-year-old riot victim bounces

More than a decade after her house was burnt in riots, 75-year-old widow received outdated cheques for compensation which was dishonoured by the bank


Posted On Thursday, May 03, 2012 at 10:04:13 PM

Fatima Bibi Shaikh received two cheques for about Rs 29,000 last week but they were dated June, 2009. Bank returned the out of date cheques yesterday

The wait for compensation seems to be stretching far too long for riot-affected 75-year-old Fatima Bibi Sheikh. Even after receiving two cheques amounting to about Rs 29,000 from local authorities towards compensation she could not get relief as both cheques turned out to be outdated.

"I had got these cheques after making several rounds of collector's office and courts. Every trip cost me around Rs 100. But today I was told that I could not get the amount as the cheques issued by Mamlatdar were out of date," said a visibly shaken Fatima. 

On Thursday she received a communiqué from the Dariapur branch of Bank of Baroda, stating that the cheque was issued by the authorities in June 2009 and hence could not be honoured.

One of the cheques, for Rs 23,518, was dated June 15, 2009 and another, for Rs 5,534, was dated June 1, 2009.


District Collector Vijay Nehra when contacted countered that such an incident could not have happened. When told that this indeed was the case, he said he would not like to comment on the issue.

It has been an unending ordeal ever since her house in Dariapur was set afire in 2002 riots. Every time there would be a communal tension, her small house which is located between predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Nagina pol and Hindu-dominated Vadigam would face the wrath of mobs.

After first incident when her house was set afire during communal tension, Fatima, who earned her livelihood by stitching clothes, managed to get the house repaired with the small savings she had.

Fatima Shaikh earns her livelihood by stitching clothes. She opened savings bank account after borrowing money from neighbours
She has witnessed incidents of fire in her house a number of times, as the freak fire missiles thrown from nearby localities would often land in her house causing fire and damaging new clothes which she had stitched working overnight on hersewing machine.

Soon after 2002 riots, along with other affected families she too applied for compensation following the announcement of relief by the state government. Four years ago, when eight riot-affected families got financial relief, she was disappointed. But not the one to give up so easily, she started making rounds of collector's office seeking her dues, even though each trip in auto would cost around Rs 100.

Her efforts seemed to have paid off when following a number of representations, she received two cheques amounting to Rs 29,042 last month. 


It was a big amount for Fatima, who after the demise of her husband about 25 years ago, could barely earn up to Rs 60 by stitching clothes. Along with the earning of her sons Hanif (35) and Rafique (45), who worked as helpers at nearby shops, the earning went up to Rs 250 every day. Expectedly, there was hardly any saving at the end of the month. So when the neighbours told Fatima that she would need to open a bank account to encash the cheques Fatima and her sons, who are illiterate, were clueless. But she was relieved when neighbours agreed to lend her Rs 1000 to open the account. With the help of neighbours, she was happy to open the savings bank account in the Bank of Baroda at Dariapur.  

But her financial hardships seemed far from over. On Thursday she received a communiqué from the bank informing that the two cheques could not be accepted. The two cheques were "out of date" the communiqué said.

Her sons Hanif and Rafique work as helpers in neighbourhood shops


As Fatima and her two sons are illiterate they were excited to have received the cheques and did not even bother to the check the dates on them.  

Fatima, was told about the rejection of cheques by her neighbours, whom she approached after receiving the letter from the bank.  

"I am yet to return money to my neighbours, who helped me open the account. This is shocking. I am completely broke and don't know what will I do now," said Fatima.

20, DESCANSO, APRT 1321,

No comments:

Post a Comment