Hundreds brave chill after anti-encroachment drive in Delhi

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Hundreds of squatters were forced to spend the cold winter night out in the open in west Delhi after their hutments were demolished in an anti-encroachment drive, but an infant’s suffocation death at the time remained a mystery.

According to witnesses, the six months old baby died when a heap of clothes fell on him even before the demolition drive began on Saturday afternoon on the encroached railway land in Shakur Basti.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Railway demolished 500 slums today (Saturday) in such cold. A child died. God will never forgive them.”

After visiting the spot around 2 a.m. on Sunday, he said: “Coming back from the demolition site. Heart rending scenes. How cud our own countrymen do this to our poorest fellow countrymen.”

“Suspended two SDMs (sub-divisional magistrates) and one SE (superintending engineer) for not providing relief,” the chief minister said in another tweet.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pushpendra Kumar said it was not a demolition but an “anti-encroachment drive” by the railways.

“It was an anti-encroachment drive on railway land… it was not a demolition,” the officer told IANS.

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