No water supply, police curtailing movement, allege Khori Gaon residents
Residents of Khori village in Faridabad, where about 10,000 houses built illegally on Aravalli land are to be demolished, on Wednesday alleged that increased police presence in the area has brought their daily life to a halt. Residents said that neither are water tankers being allowed to enter the village nor are they being allowed to move out for basic things, such as going to work or seeing a doctor. The police, however, denied the allegations.
Sapna, a resident of Khori village, said that only those residents who are packing their belongings and leaving the village are being allowed to move freely. “Water and electricity supply to the village have already been disconnected for over a week and now, police deployed outside the village are not even allowing water tankers to enter. Many houses do not even have drinking water and are being forced to drink dirty water,” she said.
Nirmal Gorana, the general secretary of Bandhua Mukti Morcha, an organisation that has been working with the residents of Khori village to seek rehabilitation, said, “In the past two days, police deployment has increased in the area and the main problem that the residents are facing is of water, as tankers are not being allowed to enter. The situation is such that the residents are neither able to live in their own homes nor find a new place elsewhere, as they do not have the financial strength.”
Residents of Khori have been vacating their homes since the Supreme Court, on June 7, ordered the demolition of slums encroaching on the Aravalli forest area in Faridabad district, holding that there cannot be a “compromise or concession on forest land”.
Residents, however, have been demanding rehabilitation since then, but haven’t received any response from the authorities yet. Last week, a 70-year-old man, who had recently completed the construction of his house by spending around ₹3 lakh, allegedly killed himself, fearing that his house would be demolished.
“As the lockdown guidelines have been eased a bit, many residents are trying to go outside to look for temporary jobs, but with movement being stopped, how are we supposed to do that? A group of residents had planned to peacefully march till Delhi to the Prime Minister’s office to share our demands, but that was also stopped by the police officials,” said a resident, who did not wish to be named.
Officials of Faridabad police said that around 150 police personnel have been deployed at Khori village and checkpoints have been set up at all entry points of the village.
Refuting the allegations of the residents, Sube Singh, spokesperson for Faridabad Police, said, “Police have set up checkpoints at entry points of the village from a safety point of view, to ensure that outsiders do not spread violence or misinformation in the village. Residents of Khori are being allowed to move freely.”
Officials of the district administration also said that water supply through tankers is being continued to the village.
“Water tankers might not be allowed to enter the village but tankers are regularly being sent to the area and stationed at particular points from where villagers can carry the water,” said Pankaj Kumar, the subdivisional magistrate of Badhkal, which comprises Khori village.