Hundreds of people living in Delhi slum cluster, jhuggi-jhopri lost their homes in a demolition drive by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on 24 September 2020. Destruction of lives, demolition, resettlement is nothing new for the people who live in Delhi slums.
Nazmi Begum, 26, a widow and mother of two young boys, Friday said the demolition drive was carried out without giving residents time to even remove their money and documents from the tenements.
“I pleaded with officials to at least let me take my documents and my savings of around ₹2,000. They did not heed our pleas. Women police officers hit us when we tried to raise our voices. At least four of us were detained as well,” Begum, who has a bruise at the corner of her right eye, said.
In a fraction of seconds, the life of thousands of people turned upside down. According to sources, a resident got badly injured as he was inside the house when this demolition took place. A JCB ran over the house when he was inside, causing him several serious injuries. Demolition continued for hours even after knowing that many of the people were inside their houses.
Approx 50 to 70 huts were demolished as this drive helped clean up 2.5 acres of land. This cruelty of the government clearly showed one more time in a row that poor people’s life does not matter in this country any more.
Sitting at the top of the debris of her house with her five-month-old son, Sajda Parween, 22, questioned this decision, during the pandemic. “The government asked us not to step out of our home to restrict the spread of Covid-19 and then they demolished our houses. Where do we go? All our savings are exhausted after the lockdown and we don’t have money to even return to our village or rent a place,” she said, adding that they slept in the open on Thursday night and had no idea how long they would be able to continue like this.
Many of the residents including young girls, women and men are being detained, their whereabouts are yet to be disclosed. The reason that is given for their detention is that they were creating trouble in the process of demolition.
The residents watched their homes turning into debris, their whole livelihood scattered into pieces. Still, no one questioned where these hundreds of families will go? How will they survive?
Firstly this pandemic took their jobs and then this government took shelter from them. The only question that is left unanswered is “How cruel this world is for the poor people?”
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