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Shakur Basti demolition: Dear Kejriwal, stop blaming and work a solution

Shakur Basti demolition

New Delhi: Rubeda Khatur, a lean and weak woman in her 20s, carrying the looks of much older person, starts screaming as soon as she spots anyone with a camera around her half demolished hut at Shakur Basti.

She asks, “Where were these people when my hut was being demolished?” She calms down when people around her tell that they were not government people but media persons who could take her voice to the government.

She tells gently, but with a pain in her voice, that police came with bulldozers and smashed everything into pieces, from the sack of rice to the things she was collecting for her daughter’s wedding.

Her tiny hut hardly appeared to cover an area of 6×6-foot. Hers is a family of five with two boys (five and seven year olds), a 14-year old daughter and a rabbit. They have no blankets. The original condition they were living was absolutely pathetic; imagine the present one after the demolition.

She says, “Do din khana dene se kya hoga, kal se vaise hi sab chalega”. (Nothing will come out from providing food for two days, it will be the same from tomorrow.) She simply says that she did not have any hopes from the authorities.

Apparently, people have been living in the demolished Shakur Basti locality for decades. Once in a while, governments suddenly wake up and demolish the things and then the media wakes up and rants about it.

It is a situation where locals feel that they are being used. It is one of those days when media gets happy that they have a news to run 24×7 (with the touch of ‘humanity’ as if they are seriously concerned!) and, suddenly, everybody becomes a Seymour Hersh. Opposition is happy that they have the chance to go after the government.

Railways officials said that they had given the notice. When asked about it, locals told NewsGram that the officials did notify but they (locals) had nowhere to go in absence of some sort of rehabilitation plan.



AAP workers distribute caps, Kejriwal continues with usual blame game

The laughable irony of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who made big promises during campaigns that not a single jhuggi will be demolished, is (again) blaming Modi for it. In a series of tweets, he went after the Centre showing himself as some messiah who would wipe out the pain of the Shakur Basti slum dwellers by suspending officials and initiating an inquiry.

What skipped his mind amid his ‘humane concerns’ is the fact that it was his job as the CM to ensure safety and rehabilitation of such people.

Question is- what is the responsibility that a CM holds and how does tweeting solve the problem?

While a six-month old baby died, allegedly, due to the demolition, AAP was busy trying to show its presence. Scores of AAP workers were seen showing their presence with the AAP topi while roaming around in the locality as the kids playing gilly danda also donned the same AAP caps.

When NewsGram asked 7-year old Nisar, who was wearing a cap and running with an AAP flag, he said he got the cap and flag in morning as he remarked, “kejriwal hi unko ghar dilwayega.” (Only Kejriwal will get them houses.)

AAP seems to have this weird target of letting the people know that they were there as they continued their topi-distribution.

Delhi’s ruling party’s agenda of ‘showing presence’ coupled with Kejriwal’s political opportunism is an insult to the people who are suffering with no solution in sight.

Where should they go?

Most of the locals work at the railway cement godown nearby. Cement is mixed in the air and, as a result, the media and leaders were seen covering their faces. Nobody realized the plight of these people who continue to live in this condition, breathing and bathing in cement every moment where they find it hard to stand for even 30 minutes.

It is true that the land belongs to the Indian Railways and these shanties are illegal but what other options do they have? Elections come and with it come the promises of proper houses and rehabilitations; however, after the results there is nobody to even look back.

It is a shame that we see these people’s lives when a tragedy like this takes place. Otherwise, their existence is very much forgotten amid ignorance.

Today everybody wanted to talk to them, take their pictures, talk about their lives. But these ‘non-existent entities’ are used to this trickery of media and politicians. They know that the coming night they’ll be cold in the weather and apathy, and nobody will be there to warm them with blankets or comforting words.

Mohammed Asghar, another local, demanded that the PM must make a visit, “PM should visit us as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited today and CM Arvind Kejriwal visited last night.”

There was chaos when the food and blankets were delivered to the people. AAP took the credit for blankets and Congress for food. BJP was yet to reach the spot.

The problem is that nobody is still listening to the locals. They want permanent solution to their plight. They do not want food or blankets being distributed or the affiliation of AAP’s topi. Their basic need is that of a place where their whatever-they-have is not demolished every now and then.

It is a whole different debate whether they should have this land or not, but if the government made some promises then it becomes their duty to, at least, remember them.

“Give it a human touch, talk to that little girl”, a cameraman told his reporter.

The little girl looked in confusion at the camera and started answering. Minutes later, she was back to playing amid the ruins as the cameraman-reporter duo got busy debating the usefulness of the ‘humane’ bite.

Everything was back to the same ‘normal’.

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I eat, sleep and breathe on controversies, (never) says Kejriwal


Controversies appear to be the middle name of Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He thrives on it. Since the moment in time the legendary RTI activist floated a party, he has been in the news whenever he wanted to be.

From ink and egg attacks to sleeping in Delhi cold on pavements as the CM, the Kejriwal list goes on and on. But let’s not go into the past (for the fear of AAPtards, as the online AAP army and the fanatics are affectionately called).

On December 12, there was a demolition drive by the Indian Railways in the Shakur Basti area where, as per latest reports, a six-month-old baby died due to the commotion caused before the demolition. The father, in an FIR, said that the baby didn’t die due to demolition drive, rather it was the hurry to vacate the place that resulted in the death.

Now, let’s see the Arvind Kejriwal reasoning. Indian Railways come under Centre (true); Centre is run by Modi (and no one else); Modi is doing all this inhuman acts (no one knows why); let’s attack him, anyway.

Not only this, the home minister of Delhi launched an inquiry which is commendable (or just fashionable to announce), and Kejriwal suspended three officials in a move that will establish him as the messiah.

For two days, his party cadre was seen distributing caps and flags of the party in the demolished slums when he was talking on the ‘human’ and ‘animal’ terms.

Let’s move on to December 15, when, in a sudden move, CBI allegedly raided the CM office in relation to his Principal Secretary Rajender Kumar Singh in an old bribery case.

Kejriwal went crazy over this. Yes, he did go crazy as his this tweet suggests where he calls the Prime Minister of the nation a ‘coward and psychopath’.

Obvious enough, the two incidents are totally unrelated. But, are they?

Let’s see the Kejriwal reasoning over this raid. CBI is a central agency (true); it has centre word in it (true); Centre has BJP-led government (yes it is); Centre controls CBI (not so sure about it); Modi heads centre and is plotting revenge as he ‘couldn’t stop me politically’ (yes, he has nothing else to do! Even the AAP guys will say he is traveling in planes all the time!).

So, I want to ask the Delhi CM regarding the demolition and what did he actually do as the CM of Delhi to ensure safety of the slum dwellers?

The Shakur Basti kids while talking to NewsGram, in all their innocence, said, “Ghar to unhe Kejriwal hi dilayega.” Will the CM ensure the fulfilment of his poll campaign promises of rehabilitation of the jhuggis and slums?

Perhaps no. The slums will rise again as they always do. Kejriwal will hop on to another controversy to blame Modi for anything, anyhow.

The humanitarian crisis that Kejriwal saw yesterday and day before, has given way to his personal crisis when the office of his PS was raided by the CBI.

He forgot the six-month-old baby and the hundreds of the Shakur Basti slum dwellers as it was a great opportunity to unleash his Twitter rants with ‘live-tweeting’ of the CBI raids.

As I was talking to a colleague over his absurd obsession with Modi, he remarked, “Kejriwal thinks that Modi wakes up in the morning and till he goes to bed, he makes plans to put Kejriwal in trouble as if he has nothing else to do.”

I could not agree more. Kejriwal’s obsession with ‘Modi is doing all this’ has gone so far off the limits that the limit is not visible. His latest tweet, quoted above, is a prime example that he doesn’t have the decency of language and protocol.

It will not change. He is achieving his purpose as the government had to respond to a question over the raids in Rajya Sabha that the raids were not on him as he is making it out to be but on an officer. Venkaiah Naidu clarified on the matter as well. However, as the legend of Kejriwal goes, he finds everyone to be blatantly lying.

I just want to know, from him and his supporters, what has the government decided on the ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Shakur Basti? Or is he waiting for the Delhi cold to rise and blame it on Modi that his ‘cold response to his tweet brought the chill in Delhi!’

Ok, that was absurd. But what isn’t?

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(The views expressed in the article are personal)