Slum dwellers stage protest, want to be added to consultative process
The Supreme Court, on August 31, had directed the Railways to remove nearly 48,000 slums situated close to the safety zone of the tracks within three months. All courts were restrained from ordering a stay on their eviction. Hindustan Times was the first to report on the Supreme Court order on September 3.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 07:15 IST
Residents from slums located on railways land in Delhi on Friday received support from members of the civil society, as they held protests in different parts of the city to demand being made a part of the consultative process for their relocation.
The Supreme Court, on August 31, had directed the Railways to remove nearly 48,000 slums situated close to the safety zone of the tracks within three months. All courts were restrained from ordering a stay on their eviction. Hindustan Times was the first to report on the Supreme Court order on September 3.
After the Supreme Court order , over 65 organisations, movements and associations of residents of affected slums, have come together to voice their protest on the slum dwellers from being evicted.
A flurry of applications were filed in the top court after its order with a group of 11 slum dwellers living near railway tracks in various parts of the Capital moved an application to join the proceedings. This application followed a separate plea by senior Congress leader Ajay Maken in the Supreme Court demanding alternate housing for the slum dwellers under the Delhi Slum & Jhuggi Jhopdi (JJ) Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015, before they are removed.
On Friday, the Railway Basti Jan Sangharsh Morcha — a collective of NGOs, organisations working for welfare of urban poor and residents of slums — led the protests. Members of the outfit said that though they welcomed the Railways’ decision about no “coercive action against settlements on railway land in Delhi for four weeks” and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s assurance to slum dwellers that they will not be evicted , they wanted the residents of such slums to be part of the consultative process.
The Centre had told the Supreme Court on September 14 that they were working in tandem with the Delhi government are in the process of making a decision with regard to clearing of 48,000 slums situated adjacent to railway tracks in Delhi. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had then informed the top court that no demolition action will commence till a decision is in place by the Indian Railways, ministry of urban development and Delhi government.
Shakeel Ahmed, convener of Basti Suraksha Manch, said, “We will continue to hold protests till the government accepts our demands. The residents should be consulted while the state and the Centre draw up a plan for their rehabilitation as it affects their homes and livelihoods.”
Ahmed said that they wanted the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board’s policy for rehabilitation of slums to be followed and in-situ housing be provided within 5km of the existing site.