Trade Union Body Flags MCD Vindictive Demolitions, Exposes its Designs in Okhla

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Photo used for illustrative purposes only.

On Tuesday, the SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) issued a notice for survey of Madanpur Khadar, Sarita Vihar and other areas on Wednesday.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – As in other parts of the country where the BJP is in power, bulldozers have a free run in the National Capital. In the name of clearing illegal encroachments, the party, by virtue of being in power in the city’s civic body, is resorting to targeted demolition of Muslim properties. With little resistance from either Opposition parties or the civil society the party is emboldened to carry forward its vindictive policy.

Against this backdrop, opposition to the party’s sinister design from an unexpected quarter is a welcome relief to the hapless victims of the bulldozer politics. Delhi chapter of International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) has pulled up Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for announcing its plan to carry out a demolition drive in Okhla, a Muslim-dominated constituency here.

On Tuesday, the SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) issued a notice for survey of Madanpur Khadar, Sarita Vihar and other areas on Wednesday.

Residents of Madanpur Khadar, which falls under Jaitpur, recounted the visit of KK Shukla, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councilor of the area, to the locality on Wednesday morning. Escorted by some security forces personnel and a group of media persons, he declared that the MCD will run a bulldozer in the area where he alleged Bangladeshi and Rohingaya refugees live.

Journalist Abuzar Chaudhry posted a series of videos of the residents of the locality on social media relating about Shukla’s visit and his sinister designs.

Mohammed Qasim, a resident of Khadda colony, recalled Shukla coming to the locality in the company of a group of people chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Qasim is living in the area for the last 20 years. He pointed out that there are around 500-600 homes, but neither Rohingya nor Bangladeshi refugees live in the vicinity. All the residents are poor Indians who have bought homes and properties from their hard earned money.

Another resident, Irfan, a laborer from Bijnor, claimed that he was living in the areas for five years. Denying the presence of Rohingya or Bangladesh refugees in the neighbourhood, he said, “People here are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Most of the people are from neighbouring states.

In its statement, the IFTU noted that the demolition proposed drive of the MCD, being ruled by the BJP, is “to further their agenda of targetting Muslims”.

“It is, of course, being done in the name of cleansing of Bangladeshis and Rohingya. This overtly anti ‘foreigner’ but basically Muslim bashing is also a cover for the anti-migrant worker, anti-poor content of the action planned,” said Animesh Das, President of IFTU’s Delhi Committee.

Das refuted the claim that Rohingya and Bangladeshi are living in the area. He said there is not statistical data to support the claim.

“What is beyond doubt is that the residents are unorganised, marginal workers of different religions, engaged in manual labour in the city as construction workers, rag pickers or are kabadis (junk dealers),” he said.

The IFTU pointed out that the South Delhi area of Okhla in mentioned by the Mayor was targeted by BJP leaders even in 1990s, insisting that all the rickshaw pullers living in the jhuggi-jhopri (JJ) clusters on the banks of the Yamuna were “Bangladeshis”, again without any data. At that time, their “Okhla koonch” from Nehru Place was called off when citizens’ and democratic organisations including the IFTU came out against their nefarious plans.

“It is extremely unfortunate that a massive number of poor migrant citizens of India, both Hindus and Muslims, from West Bengal get targeted in this manner repeatedly, especially the Muslim workers. These are not sections able to access defamation laws,” said lamnted.

The IFTU called upon Delhi’s working class, trade unions, democratic and progressive organisations to speak up and demand an end to “this proposed attack on homes and livelihoods of the poorest fringe of Delhi’s workers”.

It also called upon the Delhi government to stop abandoning its own citizens.

“The Delhi government, especially the Labour Minister of Delhi, must be asked to intervene immediately and stop the demolitions and further destitution of the poorest fringe of Delhi’s working class. MLAs and Councillors must be made answerable to people of the city; predominantly employees and workers populate this city,” it said.

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