Amidst Pandemic, Delhi Police demolish property and attack poor workers in Batla House

Amid the pandemic when people are working from home for many that very basic necessity is being snatched away by the state and its machinery.

Residents of Batla House woke up to the sound of bulldozer early in the morning. The demolition of the slum quarter was carried out by Delhi Development Authority with ample help from Delhi Police.

After the first demolition drive, residents were living in such tents. Yesterday, police set these on fire.

This is not the first time Balta house, which is a a predominantly muslim dominated area has faced demolitions. On September 24th, over 700 people in Batla House were rendered homeless as part of a a slum clearance drive by the authorities. The slum clearance procedure began on the 22nd, but residents were not given any notice.

The morning of 8th October, the Delhi police demolished what was left of Batla House. The police beat up people, destroyed their make-shift tents, crushed rickshaws and utensils and buried their documents, Sumedha Pal from Newsclick.com reported. 

 

batla house children
Children pick up the pieces of what their house used to be
batla house woman
Rukhsana scrambles to find her clothes in the heap of debris as houses were demolished

This area was completely ghettoised after the 2008 encounter, and was neglected by civic administration. The residents- domestic and daily wage workers- are one of the worst hit groups from the COVID-19.

Just as people were picking up the pieces after the demolition, the Delhi police started another crackdown in the area. This is typical of the DDA as they time and again demolish houses and takes everything from people. They don’t issue notices, rehabilitation or accountability. As Pal asserts, “it’s the criminality of DDA that needs to be exposed.”

After the Delhi police’s attack, people have no water, and many have not eaten since the morning, they are scared and extremely vulnerable, Pal reports. One woman said:

“if we had any utensils, maybe we could feed our children. They destroyed the kindling wood, but we could’ve made a brick stove. but they didn’t even leave our vessels for making food. we’re poor people…now where can we buy all this?”

In her twitter thread, Pal urges people to reach out to help the residents and amplify the news.

 

 

 

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