CPI (M) Delhi unit relief work in Jahangirpuri: A report

By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi: When Communist leader Brinda Karat stood like a solid rock in the scorching sun on April 20 waving the Supreme Court order to stop a bulldozer from rolling through Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, the entire world witnessed her courage and political conviction. Following that the Delhi State Committee of the CPI (M) started relief work for the victims whose houses and shops were demolished.

Taking a lesson from the experience of North-East Delhi anti-Muslim violence, the state unit thwarted the RSS-BJP plot to foment trouble in Jahangirpuri.

The aim is to highlight an overlooked but important aspect of the whole incident.

Even after the Supreme Court’s order at 10.45 a.m. on April 20, demolition work proceeded until 12.15 p.m. So, first and foremost, a case of contempt of court was filed. In this regard, the following day, on April 21, 17 members of the CPI (M) formed three groups to look into three different concerns.

On Hanuman Jayanti, a team mapped the procession route. The second group met with families whose members had been arrested. The third team was in charge of surveying and assessing the damages due to the NDMC’s bulldozing of homes and shops. It was apparent that the people of Jahangirpuri were the most vulnerable and powerless in the society.

At least 125 families have had their livelihoods directly attacked. It has been broken, from veggies, fruits, mobile spare parts, food stalls, to the poorest segment of the population participating in the junk industry, who used to live on street vendors, railroads, and carts, etc.

In the past, there have been instances of pavement shops being demolished and pushcarts and goods being taken away. Even those with credentials, however, had their stores smashed this time. Clearly, this was a heinous crime motivated by revenge. It was a direct attack on their source of revenue.

In such a situation, the Delhi State Committee issued an appeal for financial support as much as possible, in order to provide immediate assistance to those families.

The team surveyed over 100 families over the course of three days, taking stock of their losses.

The first job was to offer sustenance to the victims before they could battle for justice from the government and judiciary. A strategy was promptly devised to provide food packages to 50 households in desperate need. 10 kilograms of rice, 1 kg pulses, 1 kg mustard oil, salt, spices, 1 kg sugar, tea leaves, 2 kg potatoes, and 2 kg onions were included in the package.

On April 26th, this packet was distributed. Following this, we learned that there are now many more families who are unable to obtain food. On the basis of this survey, 50 street vendors were also ordered, as well as 80 food packets. 80 people were given food packets and 20 people were assigned street vendors the day before Eid. 30 more street sellers were ready after Eid, therefore thirty street merchants were distributed on May 5. 125 survey forms have been received as of May 5th. There are still some desperate families who require immediate assistance.

The State Committee’s first objective is to assist the remaining families as soon as possible. The RSS-BJP is engaging in similar bulldozer politics in other parts of Delhi. The CPI (M) Delhi State Committee, as well as all the Left parties, will march to the streets to protest this onslaught on the working class. When the bulldozers arrived in Jahangirpuri, only the working poor of all communities had to face the brunt of the destruction.

The RSS-BJP intends to use bulldozer politics to strengthen divisive sectarian politics. On the surface of inflation and unemployment, the completely ineffective Modi government at the centre is adopting such unlawful moves. By unifying the working class, the CPI (M) will combat these divisive forces.

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