Delhi: DDA demolishes shelter for homeless ‘without warning’, 100 people out in the open
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Thursday evening demolished a shelter home in southeast Delhi’s Nizamuddin, leaving around 100 homeless people without a roof.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took to social media on Friday on comment on the demolition. “V sad. Del govt’s shelter home demolished. Women, children rendered homeless. They r being shifted to another shelter home,” he tweeted(sic).
The home was reportedly a model shelter for the homeless and slum children who went there to study. Among the affected, 50 are children.
Society For Promotion Of Youth And Masses (SPYM), the NGO that ran the shelter, said there was no prior intimation about the demolition.
“We have asked the Delhi government to move court to protect the homeless. There was no intimation by the DDA and we have somehow shifted a few of them to other shelters. The shelter was built after an order from the court and the DDA had assured there will be no demolition,” said Rajesh Kumar, executive director, SPYM.
But a senior DDA official claimed, “It was an unauthorised construction with no approval. The NGO had even gone to the high court but it didn’t give any relief to them and had specifically said it is an unauthorised construction. So, the action was taken.”
The homeless children were provided with basic necessities at the shelter and counsellors were involved to keep them away from ‘bad habits’.
According to the Delhi Urban Shelter improvement Board (DUSIB), which manages shelters across Delhi, the land belongs to DDA and they were in touch with the authority.
“For the time being, the occupants are being shifted to a nearby shelter,” said a DUSIB official.
On Friday, the Delhi Commission for Woman took suo moto cognisance and ordered an inquiry into the demolition. The DCW said when their team visited the site, the homeless men and women alleged that they were lathicharged by the police.
“No prior information of demolition was given either to DUSIB or the NGO running the shelter or to the residents. The commission was informed that the shelter was demolished by DDA and Delhi Police...Residents were not even given adequate time to collect their meagre belongings,” said an officer.
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