Demolition drives: NHRC sends notices to Delhi govt, rly board

  • PTI
  • Updated: Dec 15, 2015 20:44 IST
People carry an effigy of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during a protest over the demolition of a Shakur Basti slum, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

Acting on reports that several people were rendered homeless due to demolition drives in New Delhi, the national rights watchdog has sent notices to the Delhi chief secretary and the railway board chairman even as a row rages over the death of an infant at a slum cluster that was razed by railways.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also decided to conduct an on-the-spot inquiry in this regard.

NHRC said it had sent the notices after taking suo motu cognisance of media reports regarding the demolition of slum dwellings at two places in the city -- Shakurbasti in west Delhi and Belagaon area in old Delhi.

“The contents of the news reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right to life, right to shelter and right to dignity of the people, including women and children, who have been rendered homeless due to demolition of their slum dwellings,” the commission observed.

Media reports said that following the demolition drive carried out by railway authorities in Shakurbasti, nearly 500 people were rendered homeless.

Accordingly, NHRC has issued notices to the Delhi Chief Secretary and Chairman of the Railway Board seeking reports on the matter within two weeks.

The demolition of shanties in the Belagaon area was reportedly carried out by Delhi Development Authority. Several affected people are stated to have held out Aadhaar and voter identity cards and other documents about land and land holdings in the Belagaon area.

People burning an effigy of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during a protest over the demolition of a Shakur Basti slum, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday (PTI)

A woman showed papers that she was promised an alternative plot in 2006 for which Rs 500 were paid to the authorities. The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Delhi government calling for a report within two weeks in the matter.

NHRC has also decided to send a team of its officers to conduct on-the-spot inquiry at the two spots where demolition drives were undertaken and submit reports within one week.

A case of death due to negligence has been lodged by police over the loss of life of the baby girl in the Shakurbasti slum cluster even as the political slugfest over it intensified with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asserting that no such razing will be allowed without rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, stepping into the demolition row, Delhi High Court came down heavily on the rail ministry and police for razing the slum cluster and directed the authorities to immediately rehabilitate over 5,000 people rendered homeless in this biting cold.

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