Sunday, May 19, 2024

Police brutality against women in Tughlakabad: Residents reel from trauma of demolished homes

As the residents of Delhi’s Tughlakabad still reel with the trauma of losing their homes last week when their houses were demolished by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), women in the area have alleged they were thrashed and detained for hours by the police on May 9.

Speaking to Maktoob, Reena said that she along with eight other women were brutally beaten up and detained when they were protesting against Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials who had come to pick up debris, which used to be their homes.

“Officials had come to pick up the debris but some of us started protesting, requesting them to give us time to get things as a lot of things are yet to be taken out. At the same moment, police officials there started thrashing us. I was also beaten up and then taken to the police station where we were locked up till evening,” she said.

The women allege that they were arrested at 12:30 pm and released around 5:30 in the evening.

One of the women is suffering from brain tumour and said despite telling this to the officials, they did not listen to her.

Speaking to Maktoob, 50-year-old Kanika suffering from brain tumour said, “I was slapped by the officials. They kept us locked for a few hours and then left us.”

She said that they were protesting when the incident took place. “They had come to pick out the debris when we started protesting. It is then these police officials started beating us. Some of the women were beaten brutally as well,” she added.

The residents, who are mostly labourers, were left homeless and without any rehabilitation after hundreds of homes were razed to the ground in the first week of May. Most women workers work in the nearby area of C.R Park and Greater Kailash as domestic help.

“Not only did they demolish our homes, they have also started becoming violence with us,” Reena said.

Post the demolition, many people have made makeshift tents atop the land where their houses used to be as the authorities have failed to provide rehabilitation facilities.

Lakshman Singh, who is a resident and lost his home, said that while many people have rented a room in desperation, others are staying there only.

“Most of us can not afford to rent rooms and have somehow managed by arranging money, others could not,” he said.

Singh who is also the person of contact for any distress in the area said that the women who were beaten up were intimidated by the police after which they have refused to file a complaint.

“We are scared. If they can thrash us mercilessly, what will they do if we file a complaint against them?” Kanika added.

Nirmal Gorana, Convener at Mazdur Awas Sangharsh Samiti said to Maktoob that the government is hell bent on pushing the minorities out of Delhi.

“This is just a plan to push all the marginalised people living in Delhi wherein both the state and the central government are involved in pushing the people out,” he said.

Averring that the women had suffered injuries, Gorana said that despite the sangathan giving them assurance, the women do not want to file the case. “We asked them to seek medical help as some women were beaten up brutally,” he added.

However, the women in the area have now started a sit-in protest next to the demolition site. They have sat there since the day before yesterday despite repeated police threats. Three women are also on hunger strike in view of the whole situation.

There was no response from the local police station when Maktoob tried to reach out.

The residents also said they visited local MP Ramesh Bidhuri from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but to no avail. “He has abandoned them and is in turn abusing the people,” Gorana added.

Shabana, who lost her home during the demolition said that they have voted for BJP but they have in return done nothing. “BJP has been winning from here. We have also voted for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) but all of them are the same. The government has only done Hindu Muslim politics and in return attacked the poor,” she said.

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