Uttarakhand tunnel rescue hero slams BJP MP, LG for offering house in Narela

Wakeel Hassan has spent two nights in the open along with his family after their house in Khajoori Khas was demolished by the DDA

CPIM (M) leader Brinda Karat (left) with Wakeel Hassan's family members (photo: PTI)
CPIM (M) leader Brinda Karat (left) with Wakeel Hassan's family members (photo: PTI)


Wakeel Hassan, the rat-hole miner whose house has been razed by authorities in Delhi, on Friday criticised Delhi lieutenant-governor V.K. Saxena and BJP leader Manoj Tiwari for offering him a place to stay in an EWS (economically weaker section) flat in Narela, saying it is "far away and unsafe".

Hassan, who was part of a team that rescued 41 labourers trapped for 17 days in an under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand last year, has spent two nights in the open along with his family after their house in northeast Delhi's Khajoori Khas was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday.

"I never thought they had such narrow thinking. My house cost Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 crore, and they are giving me a house in Narela, where even dogs do not go," Hassan said.

Official sources, however, said Hassan will be offered a two-bedroom DDA flat in Dilshad Garden, though a formal offer to him is yet to be made. Hours after the demolition, DDA officials offered Hassan an EWS flat in Narela, roughly 32 km from Khajoori Khas, where Hassan lived with his wife and two children.

Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said on Thursday that there were some "legal issues" regarding Hassan's house, and added that he would soon be given a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Saxena, who is also the chairman of DDA, has said Hassan will definitely be compensated and a house given to him.

Hassan said his roots are in Khajoori Khas but the area which he is being offered to live in is far away and unsafe. "Neither Tiwari ji nor LG sir will be able to help me if something happens to my children in Narela. Two months ago, they (Tiwari and Saxena) had promised to take care of my children," he said.

Levelling corruption allegations against DDA, Hassan said, "Tiwari ji says my house was illegal. But the entire colony here is unauthorised. The entire area belongs to DDA, which has razed my house as I failed to give money to them."

He also alleged that he was targeted because he is Muslim. "If there was any Hindu bhai in my place, he would have got crores and a better place to live. But I am being offered a place to live where houses are not being sold. Criminals are staying in those houses," Hassan said.

"My father was in the Army and my brother has also just retired from the Army. I am a well-educated person and you cannot throw me out (of my house) like this," he said. "I am ready to die but I'm not moving out of my colony."

Hassan's wife Shabana said they might go on a hunger strike if the situation does not change. "Our situation has been the same as it was on Wednesday. We may soon go on a hunger strike," she said.

On Friday, a few political leaders, including a CPI(M) delegation led by the party's politburo member Brinda Karat, met Hassan and his family members in Khajoori Khas.

Hassan was part of the team of miners that rescued 41 construction workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district by manually drilling through the debris in November last year.

Hassan told PTI on Thursday that DDA officials have told him he would be provided a house, but he has refused the offer as it was only a "verbal assurance". Later in the day, he demanded that his house be reconstructed on the site where it had stood and threatened to go on a hunger strike if his demand was not met.

While Hassan claims that his house was demolished without prior information, the DDA has said he was aware of the structure's "status of encroachment" as it was previously removed in 2016 and the land was encroached upon again in 2017.

The DDA has said in its role as an authority, it cannot allow encroachment on its land or unauthorised constructions in its development areas.

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