At least 500 shanties were on Saturday demolished in an alleged anti-encroachment drive by the Railways in Shakur Basti in Delhi, leaving several slum-dwellers homeless during the winters.
The Raiwlays started the demolition of the jhuggis around 11:50 am and destroyed nearly 500 of them by the evening.
According to ANI, Railway sources said the slums were razed for the construction of a new passenger terminal. They added that the slum-dwellers were given several notices to vacate the land before the demolition.
"Encroachments removed near Shakurbasti(Delhi). New passenger terminal is coming up and railway land is required for it... A number of notices were issued to encroachers to vacate Railway land during the last 9 months,but they did not vacate, (sic)" ANI quoted the sources in the tweets.
The slum-dwellers have, however, claimed they were not given any notice before the demolition.
"Our homes were demolished without any warning or notice," ANI quoted the residents of demolished slum as saying.
'Child dead in demolition'
One child was also reportedly killed in the accident. The slum dwellers claimed the child was killed in the anti-encroachment drive.
However, sources in the Railways have claimed the child died before the authorities brought down the shanties.
"Death of the child occurred in one of the slums in morning at around 10 am, and has nothing to do with removal of encroachments," they said.
Delhi CM suspends Raiways officials
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has suspended two Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDMs) for not providing relief material and shelter to the slum-dwellers who were left homelss after the demolition.
He visited the site of the demolition at around 1:30 am and ordered the officers to provide blankets to the people and food from Sunday morning.
"Suspended 2 SDMs n one SE for not providing relief. Ordered officers to provide blankets now n food from morn, (sic)" he said in a tweet.
Kejriwal also said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told him he was unaware of the demolition drive. "Spoke to Railway minister Sh Suresh Prabhu also just now. He said he was not aware of this operation. He was also shocked, (sic)" Kejriwal tweeted.
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) December 12, 2015
Death of the child occurred in one of the slums in morning at around 10 am,nothing to do with removal of encroachments: Railway Sources
— ANI (@ANI_news) December 13, 2015
In chilling winter their homes demolished pic.twitter.com/sebqN0Q2U5
— Satyendar Jain (@SatyendarJain) December 13, 2015