Infant Died In West Delhi's Shakur Basti
A six-month-old infant died in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti, where a demolition drive was carried out by railway authorities. Close to 500 shanties were razed to the ground. After the incident was reported, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior ministers rushed to the spot to meet residents.
Sources said the Delhi government is seeking legal opinion on filing a criminal case against railway authorities.
Kejriwal tweeted late last night that two sub-divisional magistrates and one superintendent engineer will be suspended for failing to provide relief to the affected families as per protocol. The CM issued fresh orders to provide blankets and food to affected residents. Meanwhile, railway authorities in a statement said the child’s death was not related to the demolition.
Public Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain, who visited the area, said the government had set up two sub-divisional magistrate inquiries, the first of which would look into the child’s death.
“Her autopsy shows she sustained injuries to her spine and other areas due to the demolition. This is unacceptable. We are considering legal options to register a criminal case against the railways,” he said.
Asked if the Delhi government had been informed about the incident earlier, Jain said, “Even if we were informed, what was the emergency to raze the jhuggis in this cold weather? We were told that only a few hutments that had come up recently would be removed. But they bulldozed through an entire field.”
Meanwhile, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) officials said they could not arrange for relief materials in advance as the railways had not intimated them of the demolition.
In a statement issued Sunday evening, the government said the drive was carried out without any survey or rehabilitation plan. “This is against the provisions of the extant Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy of the Delhi government, provisions of DUSIB Act, 2010; Special Provisions Act, 2011, Master Plan of Delhi 2021 and various landmark judgments of the Supreme Court...,” said an official.
While the railways claimed the razed jhuggis belonged to fresh encroachers who were ineligible for relocation, the statement said that according to rules, “Jhuggis in Delhi cannot be demolished without rehabilitation of eligible JJ dwellers as per the provisions of said policy”.
“Whether the JJ dwellers are eligible or not can be ascertained only after a joint-survey and eligibility determination is done by DUSIB and the land-owing agency — in this case, the railways. Unfortunately no survey was conducted. Encroachments had to be cleared to make space for a new terminal in the basti. It maintained that Delhi Police and DUSIB officials were informed in advance, as per rules. “In the last nine months, three notices had been issued to encroachers to vacate railway land. The first one was issued in March.,” it added.