More than 200 homes in Batla House have been razed to the ground without notice, rendering hundreds homeless in the midst of a pandemic.
Despite the ongoing legal dispute over the demolition of 48 thousand slum clusters in Delhi, the Central Government continues to ravage the slums in which the poor of Delhi reside.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), working on the instruction of the Centre, has been attempting to demolish slums without giving any notice to the residents.
The DDA’s latest victim is the cluster of slums located in Batla House, which were demolished on September 24 by deploying heavy police forces, Workers Unity reported.
Batla House is a muslim-dominated area located near Jamia Millia Islamia which was the site of the 2008 police encounter. The area’s ghettoization has led to a lack of civic amenities and neglect from the administration.
According to a report by Sumedha Pal on NewsClick, the slum clearance procedure began on September 22, however, no notices were served to people and no alternate site was designated for their rehabilitation.
More than 200 homes were demolished and more than 900 people, including children and the elderly, were rendered homeless in a matter of days. This comes at a time when the COVID-19 outbreak has been steadily increasing in Delhi and thousands of cases are being reported daily.
In spite of the risk to health homelessness can pose especially during this time, the residents were not given any prior notice about the demolition. Students from Jamia, AISA told Workers Unity that by the morning of the second day of the demolition, people were sitting hungry in front of houses that had been reduced to rubble.
Meanwhile, the police aided the demolition by detaining anyone who resisted the demolition in any way and lathi charging on the residents, including women and children.
The residents attempted to seek help and intervention from the AAP MLA for the area, Amanatullah Khan. However, he did not respond. There has been complete silence from Kejriwal, who had made the promise during elections to build permanent housing for the residents of all slums. During the elections, the BJP had also raised slogans saying they would build permanent houses wherever there were slums.
There have been no attempts to help or visit the area by any representative of the Delhi government or any politicians.
The residents fear that the DDA will return in a few days to demolish the rest of the slums in the neighborhood.