Photo Essay: Homeless after the bulldozers drove in

A bustling basti in Shahdara was swept away by MCD and PWD officials last week. Its inhabitants are homeless now as Delhi veers between rain and gloomy days.

ByAdil Rashid
Photo Essay: Homeless after the bulldozers drove in
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​Delhi, like most metropolises, is infamous for its jhuggi jhopris, housing those with very few means. But the system doesn’t let them be, they face the uncertainty in the form of demolitions by civic authorities. The residents of jhuggi jhopris (JJ) in Lal Baugh, Shahdara had their shanties, right outside Mansarovar metro station, demolished on August 22. The residents alleged MCD and PWD officials came without any prior notice or announcement and razed around 60 slums.

According to the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015, JJ bastis that have come up before January 1, 2006 shall not be removed without providing residents alternate housing. Nor would jhuggis that have come up before January 1, 2015 be demolished without providing alternate housing.

This is the aftermath of the demolition:

A resident shows proof of his residence. Besides documents and government records, people here possess Aadhaar cards and utility bills as well.

Already, privacy didn’t mean anything living in a jhopri under a flyover. But after the demolition, life has become especially hard for women. Their discomfort at living without a roof over their heads in an infamously unsafe city is visible.

Most of those here belong to the Gadiya Lohar community that has migrated from Rajasthan in batches. They make traditional iron tools for livelihood.

Children are the most vulnerable. Demolition disturbs whatever stability they had experienced.

Women have been cooking meals under the open. Any space that is dry is used for cooking. Water supply and electricity have also been cut to force the residents out.

A few families who weren’t in their jhopris could not save their essential belongings. Some are yet to return to see their destroyed homes in person. The owner of this cow was plain lucky.

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