Refugee children sleeping rough after night-shelter demolition
New Delhi, May 22: From women relieving themselves in the open to children being subjected to verbal abuse, life has become harsher for a group of poor people displaced by a recent demolition move in south Delhi.
About 50 women and nearly as many men are struggling to rebuild their lives after a night-shelter meant for them was razed by the Delhi Development Authority late last week, sparking a public outcry.
Sixty-year-old Krishna, who had to spend the night on pavement after the demolition of the shelter in Amir Khusrau Park in Nizamuddin area, is still clueless about the whole episode.
Hailing from Bihar's Araria district, she shares the plight the displacement has brought in. "Many women are forced to relieve themselves in the open alongside the road," she claims.
According to an official of the NGO which ran the shelter in association with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, people were being rehabilitated to a nearby shelter in the area. The park is bordered by Lala Lajpat Rai Road and Lodhi Road.
According to the DDA, the demolition was legal and was carried out in accordance with a Delhi High Court order.
"Most of these children were picked up from the streets and had been enrolled in municipal schools. Now, they have been displaced, their lives in disarray, it will be difficult to rebuild their lives," an NGO official said.
Another affected woman, Bibi Khatoon, is yet to come to terms with it. Flashing a Rs 10 note, she says, "This is all I got after begging in front of Nizamuddin Dargah.I work as a domestic maid and earn Rs 3,000 per month."
Is it feasible for me to rent a room for Rs 4,000 per month?" asked Ruby, another displaced woman, who says she took divorce from her husband because of his drug addiction.
The NGO, meanwhile, is providing relief to the affected families. Many children had developed a bond with the place and showing reluctance to move to a new shelter.
"I won't go there. There are men at that shelter who use abusive language," said 10-year-old Jawed.
DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal has written to the DUSIB and the District Commissioner of Police South East seeking information on the circumstances surrounding the demolition.