Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
On 30 April, Chhuriya Mohalla of Tughlakabad village in Delhi saw heavy police and paramilitary deployment as bulldozers demolished the illegal settlements a week after the Delhi High Court directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on 24 April 2023, to remove encroachments in and around Tughlakabad Fort within four weeks.
The demolition was done for two days, leaving thousands of labourers and their families homeless. I went to Tughlakabad a few days after the demolition, and I could see the residents still trying to find their belonging from the rubble. Since it rained for a couple of days after demolition, the panic and helplessness amongst the residents were even more.
These people lived in these houses for over a decade and had gas and electricity connections. Their government IDs like Aadhaar, PAN, etc. cards were registered at these addresses.
Mukesh Kumar, a resident, showed his electricity bill and the payment he made against the bill. He showed his gas connection and the Aadhaar Card registered at this address.
"People living here bought plots from the local builders. Builders sold the plots by showing fake ownership. People living here didn't encroach on the land. They bought it from the builders. Some people bought plots in installments, some in cash, and others bought after selling their assets. People living on rent on the other side of the road for 20-30 years bought plots here. They thought of making their dream house here."Alamdar, Resident
Without roofs over their heads and nowhere to go, residents struggle to survive in the Delhi weather and are pleading for relocation.
Sabita, a resident, said, "I was drenched in the rain after the demolition, along with my kids near the forest area. Some of my belongings are below my bed, and many of my belongings are buried in the debris, and some items I have kept at my relative's house. Many of my belonging got destroyed."
Sabita is spending her days and night on the debris of her house as she can't afford rented accommodation for her family. "I don't understand where to go with my kids," said Sabita.
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