Homeless write to NHRC against eviction drive

Homeless write to NHRC against eviction drive

Claiming that the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) officials took away their belongings comprising medical prescriptions, books and clothing, the homeless population wrote to the National Human Rights Commission against the eviction drive carried out by the authorities under the aegis of the Connaught Place beautification project.

The NDMC officials, however, said the council had cleared the pavements of illegal encroachments by squatters by confiscating their belongings in Connaught Place area on Saturday.

The pavements from where the destitutes were evicted were used for installing flowerpots to attract tourists.

The homeless population has also marked a copy of the letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Department of Women and Child Development and Delhi Commission for Women. They said they have been living there for decades. “We have been living here from before 1984 and the area police station has the record of the people living around the Hanuman Mandir area,” said Munni, a destitute.

“In 2007, it was a homeless kid amongst us who informed police about the bomb in a dustbin and saved many lives. So, why are we being treated like this?” she added.
 The destitutes complained that the eviction squad took away their belongings, including things of everyday necessity.

“Things like medical prescriptions, books of our children, clothes and utensils were taken away by the authorities,” said Kamla who lives in Hanuman Mandir.

But the NDMC officials said the destitutes can reclaim their belongings. “They can get their stuff back. We have kept their belongings in the store and if they approach us, we will give their stuff back to them,” said an official, requesting anonymity.  
NGOs, working for the homeless in the Connaught Place area, also questioned the eviction drive.

“There are around 70 children in the age bracket of five to 18 years living on streets in the area. There are over 35 women who sell handmade items on the roadside to earn their living and nearly 40 men who work as labourers to provide for their families,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder of Centre for Holistic Development.

“Every year the authorities trouble the less fortunate by carrying out such eviction drives. Why can’t they provide a space or a facility where these people can go and live with dignity. The nearby shelter homes don’t have space to accommodate these people. Then, where are they supposed to go?” he said.  There are over 100 voters among these destitutes. “Over 100 people had cast their votes during the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls and many others during the 2014 general elections,” he added.

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