On Tuesday, as 50 children staying under the Safdarjung Flyover were about to leave for school, they saw railway and police officials gather outside. Along came a demolition team, ready to tear apart their home.
On Saturday, the railway authorities had put up a notice saying that the homeless shelter and small dwellings next to it would be demolished by Tuesday. While the children live in the shelter, their parents stay in the open due to lack of space inside.
The railway authorities' notice came despite the High Court order that clearly states that no shelter can be demolished under any condition. Yesterday, Hindustan Times had reported the dilemma of these children and their parents.
On Tuesday morning, railway authorities demolished the small dwellings next to the shelter. Only after their attention was drawn towards the court order repeatedly did they decide to leave the shelter alone.
And while what the authorities did was within the law, their action has created a hostile situation for the children. Around 50 children that stay in the shelter go to a nearby NDMC school. They got admission here only after a lot of efforts made by PRERNA, an NGO that runs the homeless shelter.
“If these children's parents are driven out, why will the children stay here? If they move from this spot, they are going to drop out,” said Palvinder Singh, member, PRERNA.