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His house razed, rat miner rejects DDA's guest house offer

Last updated on: February 29, 2024 18:47 IST

Hours after razing his house in a demolition drive in Delhi, the DDA offered to move Wakeel Hassan, a rat-hole miner who was part of the Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, and his family to a temporary accommodation but he declined the offer, officials said on Thursday.

IMAGE: Rat-hole miner Wakeel Hassan's house was razed in a demolition drive carried out by the DDA in northeast Delhi's Khajoori Khas area. Photograph: ANI

Speaking to PTI, Hassan said Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials told him that he would be temporarily accommodated in a guest house in Vasant Kunj and would soon be provided a house in the Govindpuri area, but he refused the offer as it was only a 'verbal assurance'.

This comes a day after Hassan alleged that the DDA razed his house in Delhi's Khajoori Khas on Wednesday without prior notice to him.

Hassan and his family spent the night outside following the demolition drive.


Standing by its action, the DDA later in a statement said that 'in its role as an authority, it cannot allow encroachment on its land or unauthorised constructions in its development areas'.

The DDA also said Hassan was aware of his house's 'status of encroachment' as it had been previously removed in 2016 and was encroached upon again in 2017.

Asserting that it was a 'routine encroachment removal drive', the DDA said Wednesday's action did not 'target any particular individual'.

Having come to know about the contributions of Hassan in the rescue operation in Uttarakhand, the DDA 'extended its hand of support' to the family but it was refused, the DDA said in a statement.

The urban body, however, clarified that "at no point of time before or during the demolition exercise, were the DDA officials aware of Hassan's role in the rescue operation in Uttarakhand.

On Wednesday, the DDA said the demolition drive was carried out on land that was 'part of planned development land'.

Some TV channels showed Hassan and his family sitting and having dinner amid the rubble of what used to be their home.

He spent the night on the street with his wife and two children near the spot where their house stood. The family's neighbours' provided them with food and other necessary items.

Not long ago, the rat-hole miner was feted for being part of a team that rescued the 41 workers trapped in Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel in November last year.

The DDA, in its statement, said when Hassan's role in the tunnel rescue operation came to light, officials made alternate arrangements of shelter for his family and went to the site and contacted him.

However, he 'refused' the relief measure offered to him, and 'demanded a permanent house either at the same location or at any location in the same vicinity', the statement said.

Hassan, however, said he wanted the authorities to make their offer in writing.

"Around midnight, some DDA officers came and offered to shift me and my family to a guest house in Vasant Kunj," Hassan told PTI.

He claimed the DDA officials also told him that 'a house will also be provided in the Govindpuri area soon, but I refused to accept their offer because the assurance was verbal'.

Hassan had alleged on Wednesday that no notice was served to him before the demolition.

The DDA, however, categorically said, 'The family (of Hassan) was in the know of their status of encroachment'.

Hassan was 'also aware of the encroachment on the land' which was removed earlier in 2016 but it was encroached by him again in 2017.

'In 2016, the DDA, initiating a demolition drive, reclaimed its three land parcels from encroachment (from the area),' the statement said, adding, during inspections in 2017, it was found that two individuals were 'again encroaching two of these three land parcels'.

'This serious violation was promptly reported to the police, triggering a scheduled demolition programme set for June 2018,' the DDA said.

However, the execution of the demolition programme faced 'significant challenges as the family, identified as the encroachers, resisted the enforcement. Explanations were also sought from errant officials for having allowed such re-encroachments', the statement said.

Demolitions were again scheduled in September and December in 2022.

These attempts of demolitions were 'once again thwarted by the women of the family who attempted to inflict physical harm upon themselves and threatened self-immolation after barricading themselves within the premises', the DDA claimed in the statement.

All these attempts for demolishing this property were well within the knowledge of Hassan and his family and were aware about their status as encroachers, it said.

'The structures adjoining the site where demolition has been undertaken fall within the boundary of Shri Ram Colony, Rajeev Nagar, Delhi 94, which is notified under the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorized Colonies) Regulations, 2019, at Sr No. 625, Colony Registration No. 614 of Annexure II of these Regulations,' the DDA added.

In a recent court order, it has been observed that local authorities, including DDA cannot allow the menace of encroachments as well as illegal unauthorised constructions, the statement said.

However, given the contribution made by Hassan in the rescue operation of the workers in Uttarakhand, the 'DDA will still continue with its efforts to provide its help to the family' of Hassan, it added.

The demolition team and local police reached the location and requested Hassan's family to 'vacate the encroached area', the DDA said.

'After affording sufficient time to (Hassan) for removal of their belongings from the encroached structure, the encroached area was cleared,' the statement said.

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