Evicted Delhi slum dwellers protest near DDA office, allege violation of high court rules and UN guidelines

New Delhi: Hundreds of people demonstrated near Delhi Development Authority (DDA) office in Central Delhi's INA area on Tuesday, against forced eviction of an unauthorised settlement. The eviction, which took place last week at Gulshan Chowk in Baljeet Nagar area has left nearly 500 people homeless.

The protest has come at a time when another settlement in Gayatri Colony (also in Baljeet Nagar) is facing threat of eviction by DDA in a similar manner.

Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

"The DDA had demolished about 500 houses in Gulshan Chowk's Punjabi Basti on 5 July. The DDA did not follow the due process for eviction mandated by the Delhi High Court and as per the requirements of United Nations' Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and displacement," said a release issued by Baljeet Nagar Sangharsh Samiteee, a common platform for the evicted people of the area.

Arvind Unni, a social activist working for the right to shelter of slum dwellers, told Firstpost that as per the law, the DDA was required to serve notice before eviction.

“But no such notice has been served to the people. They don't even know why they have been evicted,” he added.

Interpreting the concerned laws related to eviction of illegal settlement, advocate Ashok Agarwal said, “Sometimes eviction drives are been conducted as per orders of the court. Sometimes even authorities carry out eviction drives on their own. But as per the law the people who would be evicted should be given three weeks time to vacate their homes."

Another social worker Ashok Pandey told the media that due to the sudden nature of the eviction drive, many families could not take away their belongings and money before their homes were decimated.

"Most of the families now have their belongings and their hard earned money under the debris of their homes," he said.

Arvind Unni further said that the people were given only ten minutes time to vacate the homes where they have been living for more than 10 years.

"There were patients and schoolgoing children in the colony. They had to be shifted to a safe location before the eviction. But no time was granted to them even to protect the children and the patients," he said.

A delegation of community representatives was called by the DDA after the 'dharna' began and the representatives had a discussion with DDA officials on the demands.

People from the evicted colony continued to shout slogans, sing protest songs and share their narratives and memories of demolition during the talks.

"DDA officials agreed in the meeting that they will not carry out any further demolition in the slums," said a press release issued by the local residents.

The release also alleged that DDA officials denied to accept any government or court provision of giving an advanced notice to the slum dwellers before demolition in response to which, the representatives provided them with appropriate court judgment about the same.

"They have agreed to provide resettlement to people living in the community prior to 2006, and copies of Proof of Identities needs to be submitted to DDA for the same,” the release also said.

However, Unni alleged that residents of another colony have also been threatened by DDA that they will also be evicted in the same manner.

DDA did not issue any official statement on the issue.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 22:54 PM

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