NHRC issues notices to the Delhi government and DDA over reports of demolition of a hostel for visually impaired causing them inconvenience in cold weather (22.12.2017)

PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi, 22nd December, 2017
The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that about 20 visually impaired students are forced to live in open since a week as on the 15th December, 2017, the Delhi Development Authority, DDA demolished their hostel claiming that it was constructed on a public land in Janak Puri area of the National Capital.
The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi and the Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority, calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks, including the number of shelter homes, hostels in Delhi, available for the students, especially for the visually impaired or other specially abled persons, including the extension of the facilities for stay and food.
The Commission has observed that the hostel is reportedly being run on encroached land, which is a dispute to be decided by the competent court. The DDA officials have, reportedly, accepted that the occupants, were not cautioned in writing which specifies that they were not given adequate time to take out their belongings. Considering the cold weather conditions in Delhi, the DDA authorities should have been sensible towards the occupants, as they are visually impaired and cannot respond to such a sudden action. Without any proper shelter, and basic amenities, they are forced to stay in open, which amounts to violation of their right to life and dignity.
According to the media reports, carried today on the 22nd December, 2017, the hostel, Louis Welfare Progressive Association of the Blind had been running from that building for the last 17 years. The occupants are mostly students of Delhi University or the nearby Sarvodaya school. Many of them have lost their academic documents and gadgets. They have alleged that they were given no information about the demolition or even ample time to gather their belongings. The DDA, reportedly, maintained that the occupants were informed, well in advance, verbally but not in writing, as they could procure a stay order from the court, and it becomes very difficult for the DDA to clear encroachments then. They, reportedly, further added that they have all the sympathy with the occupants but the action has been decided by the management and the students can live in several government hostels instead of running a private hostel, on an encroached land.
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