The state government’s apathy towards the plight of the homeless was once again highlighted on Saturday after the police, along with Railway Protection Force (RPF), evicted over 200 families from their settlement under Pul Mithai Wala in Old Delhi.
The eviction drive, according to locals, happened without notice and even had women and children hurt in the process.
The police, however, have denied any clash between their personnel and the evicted.
“Mainly the RPF was involved in the process,” said Sagar Preet Hooda, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North Delhi.
“The eviction has already taken place and was a peaceful process. We have made no detentions.”
The settlement under Pul Mithai Wala — an old flyover over the Railway Line at the Junction of Qutub Road and Azad Market Road — mainly comprised families of daily wage labourers, who are now left shelterless in bitter weather conditions.
MLA Prahlad Singh Sawhney, who met the families after the eviction, will meet Union Minister Kapil Sibal on this issue.
“How can they decide to throw them out at this time of the year? I will meet Mr Sibal tomorrow and request for a meeting with the Railway Minister on this issue,” he added.
“No alternate arrangement has been made for the families. There was no warning and the police have even confiscated belongings of many. They will all have to fend for themselves in this weather,” said Raj Bhushan, who is an activist associated with ‘Shehri Adhikar Manch Begharon Ke Liye’, a consortium of 26 bodies working with homeless people.
“The government’s blatant disregard for the rights of the homeless, especially after High Court’s recent criticism of the night shelter demolition on Pusa Road, is shocking,” he added.
The High Court had lambasted the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Wednesday for demolishing a temporary night shelter on Pusa Road.
Of the 250 people who were left shelterless, a balloon seller died because of exposure on New Year's Eve.
In wake of this death, the MCD had apologised for the demolition and made alternative arrangement for the evicted on January 3.