People live in squalor in the slums on the outskirts of Wazirabad village, just a kilometre from the upscale DLF and Ardee City, from where a 10-year-old-girl was abducted on January 15 and later found raped and murdered.
A visit to the slum portrays a picture of absolute neglect of basic living conditions, and a lack of any measure to keep children safe from sexual predators and numerous other dangers abound there.
Recently, a boy was bitten by a pig,and he had to be admitted to a hospital. Several such incidents have been reported by the inhabitants who live in dismal conditions. They pay Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 for the makeshift tin shanties that have no toilet or bathroom facilities.
There are around 500 families, mostly from West Bengal, living in the slum and the population of 3,500 has a large number of children. Most of the men earn a living as ragpickers and garbage collectors, and the women are domestic helps in upscale condominiums in DLF Phase 5 and Ardee city.
The family of the five-year old girl, whose body was recovered from Rajiv Chowk on Wednesday, also lives in a slum in Sector 15 part 2.
On Friday afternoon, when HT visited the slum, there were more than 50 children playing in the filthy streets without anyone overseeing them. There is no government-run anganwadi or a play school in the locality as they do not seem to figure in any development plan of Gurgaon. However, the January 15 incident has turned parents more cautious but a lot more needs to be done, residents said.
“Majority of people in the slum are from West Bengal and work as ragpickers, domestic helps and garbage collectors. We start the day at 6 am and end it late evening. During this time, the children are on their own, playing and eating together,” Munaf Munshi, one of the slum dwellers, said.
However, the recent kidnapping and murder of the girl has sent a shock wave among residents. A large number of women who work as domestic helps in the nearby upscale colonies said they used to be carefree earlier but started taking precautions after the recent incident.
“I am scared after the incident and now, one of us (parent) stays at home and tries to keep a watch on children. This crime has been committed by an outsider as most people in the locality know each other and are incapable of doing such a thing,” Shahnur, who lives in this slum, said.
Residents are now hoping that police will nab the culprit(s) at the earliest so that the children can continue to play without any fear in their locality.
They think demanding better civic conditions or citizen groups to carry out a march in their support will be too much to ask for.