City's homeless yarn for 'identity', hope voter ID card will open doors

“I have applied for voter identity card three times before. But I didn’t get my voter ID card and I don’t even know the reason why.There is no harm in applying one more time. Maybe I will get lucky this time and get my voter ID card,” said Ashok, who spends nights at a shelter home in east Delhi’s Yamuna Pushta area.

Like him, over 250 homeless people have applied for voter identity cards during a special drive carried out by the chief electoral office in collaboration with an NGO in Yamuna Pushta.

Homeless people are often turned away at the government dispensaries because they do not have any identity proof. “If those who spend nights on roads have TB. We face a huge difficulty in getting medicines as we don’t have any identity proof. But if we get voter IDs, it will be of great help to us,” said Prem Pal, also a homeless, who lives in a shelter home at Yamuna Pushta.

A voter ID card can make the life of the homeless population much easy by acting as an identity proof.

Narender, 60, had come to Delhi from Jalandhar three years ago in search of livelihood. He lost his belongings and all his identity proof. “I have been living in Yamuna Pushta area ever since. I work as waiter in weddings. I can’t even open a bank account because I don’t have an identity proof. If I get voter ID I can at least open an account and start saving money which will help me in my twilight years,” he said.

The registration camp aimed at making homeless people part of the democratic process by issuing them voter identity cards, said the NGO, Centre for Holistic Development. “If they get their voter ID cards made, they will feel a sense of inclusion. Consequently, they can take part in the democratic process and cast their votes and in turn become part of the mainstream,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder of Centre for Holistic Development.

The homeless population say that had they got an identity proof earlier, their life would have been different. “If we had got an identity proof like voter ID card some years ago, then we would have done some progress in our lives. We aren’t able to get a fixed job due to lack of identity proofs,” said 45-year-old Munna who works as daily wager.

The Chief Electoral Office said that it will carry out more such drives to bring homeless people on the electoral rolls.

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