Report by BIGUL MAZDOOR DASTA
More than 500 jhuggis have been demolished by the Railways in Shakur Basti, Delhi. The demolition took place on last Saturday leading to the death of a six month old child, leaving many injured and an odd 10,000 people homeless in the chilling Delhi winters. The Railway minters Suresh Prabhu is allegedly shocked and unaware. Mr Kejriwal took to twitter to condemn the demolition. Ajay Maken of congress too condemned the demolition. On Monday Rahul Gandhi briefly visited the razed down site where once the shanties stood and thats that! All these electoral political parties have even made what is a tragedy and a very difficult time for the slum dwellers an opportunity of mud slinging onto each other which also doesn’t come as a surprise.
What needs to be noted and recalled is that AAP minister Manish Sisodia had made an announcement after the demolition of slums in Shahadara and Wazirpur that they have made an agreement with the railways that no slums will be demolished until arrangements for their rehabilitation had been made. But now it seems they have forgotten this promise too in a similar way as they have forgotten the promise of providing pucca houses to the slum dwellers. The slum dwellers of Shakur Basti have been forced to sleep on the roads and face the winters with nothing but a bonfire. No arrangements have been made for them by either the Railways or the Delhi government. Slum dwellers of Shakur basti receive empty condolences as they try to fight out the biting Delhi winter. The father of the 6 month old child who lost his life during the demolition drive was hounded by media personnel who with the least amount of sensitivity and sympathy towards his personal loss asking him to narrate the exact happenings of the day his child died, the inconsolable mother collapsed as a reporter asked him how did her child died. An 11 year old Muskaan lay inside the shambles of what used to be her house moaning in pain as the stitches on her head pained her, she was injured during the demolition drive that took place on Saturday, she had to appear for her exam today but like so many other children living in her basti her chance of getting education has also gone for a toss.
While the temperature tonight dips to bone chilling 7 degree celsius the people living in Shakur basti will be forced to survive another night out in the open as even after three days of the demolition no concrete steps for their rehabilitation has been taken by either the state or the central government. All that is being done is mud slinging and passing the baton to each other to shrug the responsibility off their shoulders. Rahul Gandhi came with his cavalry to do a photo op for the media, he spent barely 10 minutes in the basti where he simply gave empty condolences to the father of the 6 month old baby who had died. After the congress workers left then came the alleged Aam Aadmi of Delhi who were also no different than Congress. The BJP and the railways have not yet spoken about the incident with the seriousness it deserves. Their contentious silence is equally disturbing. All these electoral political parties have made a mockery out of the tragedy of the slum dwellers.
Mr Kejriwal had also visited the basti late of saturday night but so far no concrete announcement has been made by the state government for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers. On monday late in the evening Rajesh Gupta (AAP MLA from Wazirpur) had come to take part in a program organized by a news channel, Mr Gupta stated that his government had promptly carried out the relief work however the slum dwellers present interjected on the statement and asked him when will his government fulfill their electoral promise of providing them with pucca houses. First Rajesh Gupta tried to evade the question but on insistence by the people he had to give them a verbal assurance that his government will deliver on their electoral promises. Rajesh Gupta left immediately after the altercation before any further discussion between the slum dwellers and him could materialise. However even till late tuesday evening no representative from the Central or the state government came to bring any relief to the slum dwellers. The Railway Minister hasnt acknowledged the orders under whose direction this drive had been taken place. No prior notice was issued to the slum dwellers . The slum dwellers told that early on Saturday morning around 9 pm they saw JCB’s enter their basti and before they could understand what was happening 900 uniform clad lathi weilding police personal were shouting from a blaring speaker at them to vacate their jhuggi’s. No proper procedure of sending the slum dwellers a notice was followed, they were not allowed to remove their belongings from their jhuggi’s, amidst this chaos a 6 month old child had to loose his life. Contrary to what is being propagated by the Railways that the child had died before the demolition drive had even begun the jhuggiwalas have said that the child died during the drive and that the father has been threatened by the Police not to speak about it else he will bare grave consequences. A 50 year old women sat next to the spot where her jhuggi once stood, she was going through the debris in search of her belongings, she said that all her savings were in the jhuggi and now all that has been razed down, she has no money and no roof to face the winter. The administration had promised to provide tarpaulin to the slum dwelllers on sunday evening but the promised tarpaulin hasnt reached the basti even on Tuesday evening. The slum dwellers have been left to their fate by the Government. Early on Tuesday afternoon a medical was organized in Shakur Basti by Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, a majority of the people are suffering from cold and fever as they have been forced to sleep outside without a roof over their head to protect them from the chilly winds and dew. Activists of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta haver been present on the site since the demolition has taken place and the response of the government in carrying out relief work or rehabilitation is very apathetic.