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Slum cluster razed during Delhi G20 cleanup drive; 40 families lose home

New Delhi, June 02, 2023 (PPI-OT): Chaos reigned at a slum cluster near Pragati Maidan in Indian capital New Delhi when the authorities along with police demolished over 55 shanties as part of an anti-encroachment drive, displacing more than 40 families.

Residents say they woke up to the rumble of JCBs around 4 a.m. and were shocked to see people preparing to take their houses down. Authorities have been conducting anti-encroachment drives across the national capital ahead of the G20 summit to be held in the city later this year.

Security personnel were deployed on Bhairon Marg to prevent any confrontation, they said. A makeshift school which was being run by an NGO for the last nine years was also demolished in the drive.

“Around 30 students studied in the school. Children of slum dwellers use to attend classes here after their school hours. Children from 5 to 16 years old used to regularly visit the school where they were also trained in arts and skill development,” said the residents. They said the notice they were issued did not mention school demolition.

The slum dwellers who were seen sifting through the rubble to salvage any belongings said they had been asking the government to allot them an alternate place somewhere within 5 km radius.

“When they want our votes, they come to us and talk about big things but now when we are displaced and have nowhere to go, they couldn’t care less…,” said angry residents.

The slum dwellers say they were given a notice a few months ago about the demolition drive and they were fighting the decision in the court.

Their hope that they would not be displaced from their homes where they had been living for years were dashed on Thursday.

The residents claimed that the authorities told them to go away from the area since their slum cluster was a “dirt” and it would affect the image of Pragati Maidan. However, the police said they had been living here illegally for many years.

A PWD official said, “The drive was carried out by the Special Task Force and it was not a drive by our department. Our officials were present on the spot to assist in the drive. It was carried out on the instructions of the court.”

The Delhi High Court had last month refused to interfere with the demolition of jhuggis near Pragati Maidan and granted a month’s time to its occupants to vacate the land.

For more information, contact:

Kashmir Media Service

Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549

Fax: +92-51-4861736



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