Days after demolition drive, Nizamuddin slum dwellers trade house remains

New Delhi: Two days after it was demolished, the slum near Hazrat Nizamuddin area was a scene of chaos with grief-stricken families trying to dispose of whatever they could salvage from the wreck to scrap dealers.

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The slum cluster between the Sundar Nursery and the Delhi Public School inhabited by about 1,000 to 1,500 people, most of whom engaged as rag pickers, street hawkers, maids, labourers and small scale traders, was demolished in a drive following a court’s order on Tuesday.

“They should have allotted us some place to stay before bulldozing our homes. We are now homeless and we don’t know where to go. My little sister’s exams are going and her books, school dress are below the debris that we are standing on,” said Kanchan Chautala, 28, a resident of the demolished settlement.

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The place looked like a huge junkyard of household articles, furniture, and everything else that made the razed shanties home.

“They didn’t even give us time to get our things out, all night our children have been sitting without blankets. The only source of warmth left was a flickering fire that too was removed by the authorities. Even a dog is allowed to sleep on the roads, but we are not,” said 37-year-old Geeta.

Irfan Ahmad, 35, said he had only heard stories of people losing their homes, and now, he is one of them.

“The streets here looked cheerful two days ago. Where children used to laugh, there’s only cries left,” he said.

An 11-year-old Mohammad Rishad, told PTI that he would sell anything which could help him get his first bread of the day.

“My father is disabled, my mother works as a housemaid in nearby houses. They have gone to sell the scrap materials that we collected,” said Rishad, as he tried to remove the metal from a broken wooden door.

Jameela, a rag-picker, said that it took them 15 years to build a house, which was razed within minutes on Tuesday.

“We are all alone in this and no one is coming to save us. We are left with nothing. So, we are staying on the roads,” she said.

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