PMS INVESTIGATION REPORT
Date of Investigation : 14.05.2013
Members of Investigation Team
Shobha President PMS Delhi
Poonam Kaushik, Gen. Sec. PMS Delhi
K.B. Heena, Vice President, PMS Delhi Advocate
Ms. Sumanlata Katiyar
(Member PMS, Delhi Comm.)
INVESTIGATION REPORT OF PMS TEAM INTO THE DEMOLITION OF HOMES OF 1100 FAMILIES LIVING IN GOSIA COLONY, THEIR HOMELESSNESS AND THE BRUTAL POLICE REPRESSION ON THEIR SUBSEQUENT STRUGGLE.
* On the night of 9th May 2013, at about 12 midnight, some PMS leaders were informed by some women that around 50 of them were being held at Chanakyapuri Police Station and that they were also accompanied by their tiny children. The information said that the police was misbehaving with them. PMS Gen. Secretary immediately rang up SHO Chanakyapuri and he informed that 16 women were produced before the court after charges under 188 IPC were framed against them, and 40 other women were being released on personal bonds, the filling of which had taken time and hence they were being released at such a late hour. He did not clearly answer who the women were and only said they were arrested while demonstrating. On 10th May 2013 at 11.45 p.m. again the women rang up and said that police were misbehaving with them because they were trying to meet Ahmed Patel (political advisor to Sonia Gandhi). We spoke to SHO Chanakyapuri and he denied the same, saying the women were near Karbala and that they demonstrated every night. The next night (11th May) one injured woman rang up PMS Gen. Secretary at 12 mid night and said that the police have detained 50 women at eleven Murti and men and women police (in which women police were less) have together beaten the women and abused them. She also said one woman’s finger was broken in the police action. PMS Gen. Secretary lodged compliant at 100 number and then spoke on phone to DCP Shri S.B.S. Tyagi. He said that these women are “Bhade Ki’ (Rented women). They violate Supreme Court orders daily and try to demonstrate at the house of Ahmed Patel. When asked why does police not allow the women to meet Mr. Patel he said we cannot do anything in this matter.
Seeing the repressive attitude of the police, curious to know about the reasons for the nightly demonstration and why this police repression is being unleashed against the women, PMS decided to visit the women and enquire into the entire incident.
When the PMS Tema visited Gosia Colony near Andheri Modh at 4 p.m. on 14.05.2013, we found that around 500 families (all muslims) were living under plastic sheets and in makeshift structures there. The local women told us that till 05.12.2012 around 1100 families were residing here in pucca houses spread over Khasra No.217 and Khasra NO.1151/3 and that on that day their houses were brought down by DDA Bulldozers without prior notice. Many Mazars lie in the area alongwith several masjid. Many Mazar were harmed. The newly built boundary of Gosia Masjid, a new doorway, clearly show that the Masjid was recently broken and then quickly rebuilt. The old entrance door was lying on one side on the Masjid and the Wazohkhana is also demolished.
The women residents of the area showed us what they said were receipts issued by the Waqf Board a few years back and also showed us Voter ID Cards of the same area some as old as 1996. Some women said their relatives were working in Dubai and that they were issued passports on the address of Gosia Colony. The residents told us that on 05.12.2012 demolition was carried out without notice by DDA on both the khasras. Despite the cold weather subsequently, despite rains and intense heat, children, women and old are living under plastic sheets. At least 10 residents have died of intense cold they claim. The people have no place to relieve themselves. Women and girls face the most problem in this context. They face eve teasing, vile comments while going to the adjacent DDA Park to relieve themselves. Since the past 2-3 days, police is surrounding the area, prevents the women from going for demonstration at night and when they try to leave the area even in the day time for hospital or for other personal work, forces them to remove their burkhas so as to ‘identify them’. Students’ face academic harm; when their houses were broken, the people were not even given time to remove their belongings, because of which the students were not able to salvage their books and school bags.
After their homes were broken, the people held a dharna against Shri Kamal Nath (Minster for Urban Development) as DDA had carried out the demolition. People says Wakf Board Chairman came to the area and threatened the people to leave the area. After repeatedly sitting on Dharna, on 26.02.2013 the residents met Ms. Sonia Gandhi, at 6 p.m. at 24, Akbar Road. Apart from several local residents, Shri Mehmood Pracha, (Lawyer), Abbas Naqvi (Secretary Wakf Karbala) and some Imams were present. According to the local women residents whom we met, Sonia Gandhi asked her political advisor, Shri Ahmed Patel, who were present in the same room, to enquire into the matter and give her a report.
Shri Ahmed Patel, say the women, promised the delegation that he would soon enquire into the matter. The residents waited for the report for over one month. In between, on 26.04.2013 police entered Noori Masjid and caught hold of people offering Namaz. Women around the Masjid were pulled around by their hair. Cases were lodged against 7 people at the local Mehrauli Thana in which two women were also named. 6 Men are still in Tihar Jail. Women residents say the attempt is to destroy Noori Masjid and also all old structures in the area to wipe out proof of the existence of old structures so that the land can be captured by the land mafia in league with politicians, police and Wakf Board.
After the 26.04.2013 incident, the residents held daily dharnas for one week from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. outside 23 Number House in Chankayapuri (residence of Shri Ahmed Patel). The security at the gate remained evasive about Shri Patel’s availability, and police said he was not present in the house. According to one of the residents, it happened once that just after the police said this, Shri Patel left his house is a car right before their eyes. Officials at the residence / office then told the people on dharna that Shri Patel was only available after 10 p.m. at his residence. The people told us that after this the women decided to go at night to meet him. However, Mr. Patel has not met them till date and though they have spent the last month going every night to try to meet him, the police does not let them get near his residence, does not even agree to take a delegation to him and instead, knowing the women to be poor and resourceless and without backing of powerful people, lets loose repression on them, which has now increased in intensity. Mr. Patel cannot be unaware of these incidents, but he has never made an attempt to approach these people or call their delegation. If he has already given his report, he can at least inform the protestors.
Thus, for the past several nights and every night, when these women (around 40-50, mostly by turns) reach the area around Mr. Patel’s residence, it is the Chanakyapuri Police which meets them. They were kept in Chanakaypuri Police Station for the entire night on 8th May 2013 and on 9th May 2013, 16 women were produced in the court. The women said that their small children were torn from their arms by the police to force the mothers to sign some papers, and to force them to promise not to tell the judge that the police had beaten them up. The lady police broke the bangles of these women and scratched them – this team was shown the signs of scratches and injuries. The lady police squeezed the breasts of the women. The male police shouted filthy abuses at the women, insulted them and, according to the women, threatened them saying this time we got you to remove your jewellery, next time we will make you take off your clothes. The women were again beaten up on 12th May 2013 night and three women injured. On 16th May 2013, two women and one man from one family were picked up by Mehrauli Police and had not returned till night; another woman going for a job interview was stopped by the police and had not reached home till night. The women say they are kept in other police station and asked to agree to leave the Gosia Colony Area.
After our talks with the residents, seeing the documents they showed and also seeing the area, the PMS Team makes the following comments.
1. The entire area is a heritage area.
2. The historicity of the area is under threat from all types of land sharks including those in government and Wakf Garb. The Gosia Colony lay spread over Khasra Number 217 and Khasra Number 1151/3. The first Khasra was apparently acquired by the DDA in 1974 by a court award. The other Khasra is said to have been wakf land. A sale deed shown to us shows that in the year 2009 Khasra No.1151/3 was sold by one Shabnam Khan of Aulia Masjid Mehrauli to two women, Baby of Kushal Park, Ghaziabad and Farzana of Sri Ram Colony in a purchase worth more than 4 Crore rupees. On 08th October 2009, 8000 sq. yards of land was sold for 4 crores 70 lakhs through official registration. 18 lakhs 8000 rupees were deposited as stamp duty. The seller, Ms. Shabnam, is local resident of this Gosia Colony itself – while all other houses are destroyed, hers has been left untouched.
The area itself merits description. There is a ‘Shams Pond’ few meters from the area to the north and a Burg close by. People say that there was a jungle area towards the south which has now disappeared. Residents claim that the jungle was removed by one Lal Jasdev Raj whose newly built house now stands in the area. Inside Gosia Colony stands Noori Masjid and a Hauj both of which are ancient monuments. In Khasra No.217 there are mazars and Masjid which are part of the gazette notification dated 10.07.1980 of the Govt. of India. (Muslim graveyard with Mosque Dargaha and Hujra in Khasra number No.217).
The team met Mr. Mateen Ahmed, Chairman Delhi Wakf Board on 16.05.2013 afternoon. He said that Khasra No.217 ( where part of Gosia Colony was situated) was acquired by the DDA by an award in 1974. Wakf Board has approached Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Urban Development for de-notification of this Khasra and the process is almost complete. On the other hand, denying that the current residents of Gosia Colony were tenants of Wakf, he said when the land is not ours how can we make them tenants? We can neither allow them to stay there nor remove them. He denies that the people were issued tenancy receipts and says they are displaying tenant application forms. Regarding Khasra No.1151/3, he says it is Wakf Land. When shown the photocopy of the sale deed he says it is illegal, and anyway till now no one has come to take possession; when they come we will look into the matter.
COMMENTS OF THE TEAM :-
It is firstly clear that the struggling women alongwith their families have been definitely staying in Gosia Colony for atleast around two decades (going by date of voter I Cards). The residents claim that they have been staying there for generations and this can be proved by the Wakf Receipts. The land, going by the surrounding grave yards, mazars, masjids, is definitely of historical value. About Khasra No.217 that stands acquired by the DDA- the Govt. has no right to suddenly evict the dwellers and dispossess them and displace the people. Though application on behalf of the residents have been given at LG Office and at Urban Development Ministry, no one seems to be bothered about the right of the people of Gosia Colony. Both the Govt. / DDA and the Wakf seem quite content to see the land vacated.
The situation of Khasra No.1151/3 is really intriguing. There is a sale deed which shows that a local resident has sold the whole Khasra for crores of rupees to two outsiders. All the transactors are women. The land should be of the Wakf, but the Chairman seems unperturbed over the sale. He states that he will look into the matter when some one comes to claim the land. But is the Khasra really of the Wakf is the question, and the identity of the seller is another. When we tried to photograph Shabnam’s house people came out of the house and argued with us and asked us to leave. Who is Shabnam? Why is the Wakf unperturbed about the sale deed?.
It is clear that some big land racket is on, in which the residents of Gosia Colony are irritants wanted by no one and every one involved wants the area to be cleared of them.
People of the Gosia Colony allege that they have been displaced by a land mafia backed by powerful politicians; hence the police repression to stop their struggle and the all around persistent pressure on them to leave the area as many other families have done and settle elsewhere. On the other hand police alleges that the residents are the instrument of ‘Land Mafia’ but does not identify if. The Wakf Board Chairman agrees that Khasra NO.1151/3 is Wakf Land, but does not mind at all that the DDA has bulldozzed the area. The Central Govt. has done nothing at all for the 1100 families it has suddenly evicted.
Equally strange is the fact that while there have been daily demonstrations at his house for over a month, Mr. Patel has not met any delegation of residents, nor attempted to answer their queries, nor told the people anything which might guide them about who actually is looking into their case-that is, if anyone is.
DEMANDS OF THE TEAM
1. The residents of Gosia Colony should be allowed to continue to live where they have been living for long and forcible land acquisition, whether by DDA (i.e. Central Govt.) or by any other agency at whose behest DDA has acted (as pertains to Khasra No.1151/3), should be stopped forthwith. People should be paid compensation by the Government so that they can rebuild their homes.
2. Police repression of the colony residents, especially on the women, should stop immediately. All the false cases lodged during the struggle and at the Noori Masjid should be withdrawn forthwith. Policemen and policewomen guilty of beating up the women should be proceeded against.
3. There should be action against the SHO of Mehrauli and Chanakyapuri and the DCP concerned (overseeing Chanakyapuri Thana) in view of the command responsibility.
4. In the whole country, people are faced to fight forcible land acquisitions while governments are exerting to snatch every inch of land from common people. In this context lies the intriguing story of Khasra No.1151/3 and how it has been bought and sold without the Wakf experiencing any discomfort. Who is the seller, actually, and who are the buyers? It seems that a powerful land mafia backed by important politicians which have the police at their beck and call is at work. Hence we demand that there should be a time bound enquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the entire deal and into the nexus which is acquiring the invaluable, lucrative and historical land of this area.