New Delhi: Homes in yet another low-income neighbourhood demolished

Delhi authorities demolish huts, even anganwadis, but leave the gaushala intact


In yet another example of cold-hearted eviction and demolition, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) bulldozed over 60 tenements in Gyaspur Basti on July 6, 2022. The demolition took place even though people provided authorities with documents proving their right to their dwellings.

Gyaspur Basti opposite Sarai Kale Khan, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi is a 40-year-old settlement that houses over 600 residents. The mixed community here includes daily wage earners, domestic workers, rail-track workers, some people from marginalised communities, etc.

Residents say they have identity documents that make them eligible for staying put in their homes until proper provisions for resettlement are made for them. However, their documents were deemed irrelevant by the DDA authorities who claimed the land of the basti belonged to their department. Therefore, on June 27 the DDA with the Delhi Police carried out demolitions, allegedly without the legally-mandated four weeks notice to residents. By June 28, the Delhi Housing Rights Task Force (DHRTF) along with other activists and residents produced a stay order from the Delhi High Court.

The applicants pointed out that there was no counting of the number of houses and the cost and impact of a required rehabilitation of these residents. 33 households got a stay order from the Delhi High court to maintain status quo till July 11. Another 43 households intend to file their pleas in the high court.



Yet, on Wednesday, the DDA and police blatantly ignored the stay order and carried out more demolitions. According to DHRTF member Rashee Mehra, 43 houses were destroyed today when the bulldozers arrived at 9 A.M. Another 23 houses were destroyed on Tuesday.

Shockingly, while the DDA did not spare a nine-month pregnant woman from the demolition, the gaushalas in the area were kept intact. Even the anganwadi in the area was destroyed compelling the DHRTF to point out that “this angle has become ever present” in Delhi evictions.

Already, Delhi has witnessed multiple evictions in the past months starting with the Jahangirpuri demolition. The DDA also tried to demolish parts of Shaheen Bagh but the locals came together to prevent the destruction.

“Good that you want to protect cows but why break houses before July 11 as per the court order? Some people couldn’t even get their stuff before the demolition started. They fought with the officials and some people managed to save their horses and other belongings,” said Mehra.

Regarding the destruction of anganwadi, the DHRTF sent a letter to the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on July 5. Acknowledging the same, the DCPCR sent a notice to the DDA demanding a status report by July 14.

In it, senior Consultant Mohammad Salam Khan noted that the eviction came amidst surging Covid-19 cases in the city during the monsoon. This renders the children and residents of the basti extremely helpless.

“The forced evictions would have a direct implication on children’s health and well-being, it would be in the fitness of things that the High Court’s judgement is complied with and that the DDA imposes a stay on the evictions as well as such threats of evictions,” said Khan.

He further advised the DDA to ensure provisions of alternate residence and proper rehabilitation to ensure children’s safety.


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