Widow Colony had big plans for centre

Residents of Widow Colony in West Delhi claim that the disputed building that led to protests in the area was to be used to give direction to Sikh youths who were going astray due to drugs and other ills.

Led by the widows of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the community collected funds to the tune of Rs 15 lakh among themselves and had begun renovation of the main building in the compound about six months ago.

The colony was set up to rehabilitate the widows of 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Owned by the Department of Social Welfare, the buildings in the compund were constructed to serve as an old age home.

Neglect by the authorities had led to dilapidation of the buildings in the compound for the past three years.

“Two years ago a widow Inder Kaur’s son was found murdered in these ruins. It had become an adda for youth addicted to drugs. That woke us up to this initiative,” a widow, Bibi Chabni Kaur, told Deccan Herald.

She was one among four adults held by police during the eviction of the building post-midnight on Wednesday.

She claims the community intended to open a drug de-addiction centre, a dispensary, and to provide training in computer education and sewing to the youths.

Derelict condition

Another resident involved in the renovation, Jagdish Singh, said after the building was abandoned, even the security guard and the caretaker robbed the building of tubelights and water tanks.

“We reconstructed the building, the bathrooms and prepared it to be used for social activities,” he said.

Leaders of the community said they were aware that they were illegally occupying the building and claimed they wanted it on lease.

They found support in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee which assured them of “legal possession of the building”.

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