Baby dies after Railways demolish 500 slums in Delhi;Kejriwal suspends 2 SDM

Fresh confrontation erupted between Delhi government and the Centre after 500 shanties were demolished during an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the Railway police in a slum area of west Delhi in which a baby died  triggering an angry reaction from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who slammed the railways and suspended Sub Divisional Magistrates for “failing to arrange” food for those evicted.

Kejriwal wanted murder case to be registered as a minor child was also allegedly killed during the anti-encroachment drive by the Railway police.

The demolition was carried out on Saturday at Shakur Basti in West Delhi in which 1200 slum units were removed, with the railways insisting that the action was necessary to clear the “encroachments” for expanding the infrastructure.

While railways said the child died at around 10 am, two hours before the demolition drive began to clear several “fresh encroachments”, police said prima facie the baby died after a heap of clothes fell on the six-month-old.

Spoke to Railway minister Sh Suresh Prabhu also just now. He said he was not aware of this operation. He was also shocked.

— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 12, 2015

“When family members were arranging clothes, a heap of garments fell over the child which they did not notice. The child could not remove the pile and got smothered under it. No case has been registered as of now,” Jt CP (south west) Dependra Pathak.

A railway statement said, “The encroachment removal was started at 11.50 hrs under police protection and completed by evening. It had nothing to do with removal of encroachments which started at around 1200 hours.”

Kejriwal visited the site, in west Delhi, late last night and ordered the suspension of two Sub Divisional Magistrates and one senior official for “failing to arrange” food and shelter for those who were evicted.

Coming back from the demolition site. Heart rending scenes. How cud our own countrymen do this to our poorest fellow countrymen(1/2)

— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 12, 2015

Suspended 2 SDMs n one SE for not providing relief. Ordered officers to provide blankets now n food from morn(2/2)

— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 12, 2015

According to northern railway officials, “There is a need for constructing additional platforms, repairing yard, washing line, maintenance facility and office space for store and engineering division. So that, more long distance and local trains can be handled at the Shakur Basti station.”

“Railways have demolished 500 shanties in this extreme cold. One child has died. God will never forgive them. Had instructed the local SDM to arrange for food and shelter. They did not arrange the same, so have suspended them,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.

The Chief Minister said that he had spoken to Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, who was not “aware of this operation. He was also shocked.”

Have nothing to do with child’s death: Railways

Railways said that the death of a child in Shakurbasti had nothing do with its encroachment drive in the slum cluster for which adequate notices were given to the locals.

“A number of notices were issued to encroachers to vacate railway land during the last nine months.Notice to vacate before 30 September, 2015 was given but they did not vacate,” railways said in a statement.

Another notice was given for vacating the land yesterday, it said.

The encroachment removal started at 11.50 hrs under police protection and was completed by the evening.

“When police RPF and railway officials gathered at the site it was noticed that the death of a child had occurred in one of the jhuggies at around 10 AM,” it said, adding that, “Railways had nothing to do with the removal of encroachments which started at around 1200 hours”.

After assessing the situation Ishwar Singh, SHO Punjabi Bagh had given notice for clearance at 11.50 hrs.

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