A day after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) razed about “500 jhuggis” at Kathputli Colony, the Delhi High Court directed “stay of further demolition until the next hearing to enable the persons who have been found eligible to voluntarily shift to the relocated sites, and to enable those who have been found ineligible, to file their appeals”.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the SHO of Ranjeet Nagar police station to maintain “strict status quo”, and stressed that “no further occupancy shall be permitted in Kathputli Colony and no persons shall effect any kind of permanent construction in the colony”.
The order also stated that in case premises of those found ineligible for relocation by the DDA have been demolished, such persons “shall not be physically removed from the demolished premises for a period of two weeks from today”.
Meanwhile, a family at the colony sought to draw a link between teargas shells used during Monday’s drive and the death of their two-year-old child.
The child’s 25-year-old mother, Pooja, who was visiting her parents in the colony at the time of the demolition drive, said, “He was sick, with minor cold and fever. But it all got worse after the demolition… he couldn’t breathe properly after the police used teargas shells in the afternoon. I took him to Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital at night. He died today afternoon.”
She added, “I am helpless, I don’t know where to go… we are on the street with a dead child. I have given up.”
Pooja’s sister, Seema, 30, alleged, “Even we couldn’t breathe when they used teargas… Imagine the plight of a sick child. He got sicker… he threw up, got high fever and couldn’t breathe after that.” However, hospital officials, when contacted, could not confirm if there was any link between the teargas and the child’s death. Sources at the hospital further said that the post-mortem examination to ascertain the death will be conducted on Wednesday.
DCP (Central) M S Randhawa refuted the family’s claims, saying, “The family has not filed a complaint. Teargas wasn’t thrown in the area where they live. The child died of natural causes.”