Residents of the Katputli Colony today alleged that they were beaten by the police during the DDA's demolition drive and not allowed to take their belongings before their houses were razed.
Residents of the Katputli Colony alleged that they were beaten by the police during the DDA’s demolition drive and not allowed to take their belongings before their houses were razed. The drive had triggered clashes among its residents, activists and the police yesterday. However, the Delhi High Court today ordered a 10-day stay on the Delhi Development Authority’s drive so that persons eligible for relocation can move out voluntarily and those ineligible get time to appeal against the action. Even as the residents alleged forceful eviction, the police and the DDA said that the drive was held peacefully and people voluntarily moved out their belongings.
In a press conference, residents claimed that they had spent the night on the road and their family members were scared for their safety. Geeta claimed that three of her children have been missing since yesterday. “I have seven children. My two sons, aged 15 and 13, and my 11-year-old daughter, have been missing. I had gone out for some work and after I returned, I found that my house had been demolished and three of my children were not to seen anywhere,” she said. The woman alleged that the police did not help her and they did not listen to her plea.
However, a senior police official said that they had not received any complaint and that more than 300 officers were present during the drive. Sharbati, a resident, said that they would not leave the colony for the transit camp in Anand Parbat as there were no facilities there. She also said that the flats being given in Narela were far and not up to the standards. A one-year-old boy, from Hissar in Haryana, who had come to his grandparents place at the Katputli Colony, died as he was suffereing from pneumonia.Activits alleged that he died since he had to spent the night outside as there was a demolition drive going on in the colony.
However, the police said that the child was unwell for the last couple of days. He was admitted to the Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital on Sunday and was later discharged from there. The minor boy died today, the police said, adding his family refused to conduct postmortem. Activists at the press conference alleged that people were being forcefully evicted even though the high court in 2014 had stated that the DDA cannot forcibly remove people from their homes. The resistance stems from apprehension in people’s minds regarding the DDA’s assurance that the private builder with which it has entered into an agreement will construct multi- storeyed buildings in the same spot within two years, they claimed.
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Principal Commissioner J P Aggarwal said that 2,800 families have been shifted to the transit camp and another 500 have been shifted to Narela. The officer said that the residents were informed about the demolition through various modes of communication like public announcements and through newspapers. “They have been sent more than adequate number of notices. Half of them had shifted and half of them were being instigated by some leaders who have vested interests. Today, there have been no demonstrations and everything was peaceful,” he said. The DDA has made arrangements under which no resident will be rendered homeless, he said.
Spread over an area of around 14 acres, the Katputli Colony was house to a large number of puppeteers, magicians, singers and musicians. The official said that over 700 slums were demolished today. “We have not yet received a copy of the court order. It seems that the stay is limited to cases under scrutiny of appeals before the Appellate Authority,” JP Aggarwal from the DDA said. This is the first slum in the city to be taken up by the DDA for in-situ (in the same spot) redevelopment with the help of a private developer, who in turn will get a substantial part of land for commercial use.