Countless children who came back from school on Wednesday failed to find their homes in Ramjas Ground Patel Nagar. There were no homes to find, in fact.
In the demolition carried out by the DDA on Wednesday and Thursday, nearly 3,000 houses were destroyed, according to NGOs. "More than 12,000 people were forced out of their homes," said Indu Prakash Singh, technical advisor, Indo Global Social Service Society.
The High Court, meanwhile, ordered a stay on the demolition on Thursday. The demolition took place in the presence of a large police force. According to the residents, they have been living in the area since 1990.
"The DDA should have informed us before the demolition and also rehabilitated the people before the demolition was carried out," Singh added.
But DDA officials maintained that the illegal construction and encroachment on DDA land was very recent. "The constructions came up recently and were all encroachments. The area was not even a notified slum," said Neemo Dhar, DDA spokesperson.