In the months preceding the Commonwealth Games in 2010, lakhs of beggars, slum dwellers and daily wage labourers were thrown out of the Capital as the police wanted a "safer and cleaner" city.
Two years down the line, more than half of these people are back, making it clear that throwing out the poor is a temporary bandage on what is a permanent wound.
"The areas that were vacated were cleared not for any other reason but to remove the poor. Many of these places are now lying vacant or have been turned into parking lots. The Delhi government had a very clear agenda of getting rid of the poor," said Miloon Kothari, member, Housing and Land Rights Network, a body that worked with those who were pushed out of the city before and after the Games.
Experts believe the processes that needed to be followed when someone is evicted were not at all considered in 2010. "There are high court judgments that clearly outline the processes to be followed if the government displaces someone. We need a national policy that mandates the government to act responsibly when it deals with the poor," Kothari added.
Dunu Roy, director of NGO Hazard Centre, said, "The police need to adopt a more helpful attitude so that they can work with the poor and not against them. The harassment needs to stop. As for the problem of housing, the government should offer credit to the poor to start building houses. Relegating them to the outskirts of the city will never work."
"There is no shortage of land in the city. The government does not want to give it to the poor," Roy added.