The recent indicators of poverty had their first impact in Delhi. Massive riot broke out at all the shelter homes last night after Delhi Police, along with the officials from Delhi government, tried to evict the unauthorized occupants.
In a stealth operation, teams of Delhi Police and Delhi government officials fanned out to all the 150 night shelters in Delhi just before midnight and announced : ‘You know, these shelters are meant for poor people, but we have come to know that many not-so-poor people are also using these facilities in an unauthorized manner forcing really poor people to sleep on the pavements.
Get up, and quickly speak out how much you earned today?’ The people sleeping there, mostly beggars and stray laborers, were caught unawares. Not aware of the official indicator of poverty, they lamented that they were barely able to manage even hundred rupees.
As soon as they heard ‘ Hundred rupees’, the policemen, raised there lathis and shouted : ’You rascals! Get out of here! Hundred is more than three times thirty three! You earn thrice the poverty level and want to sleep in this shelter? Are you not ashamed? Poor people are sleeping on the pavements, and you are enjoying here at their cost! Get lost!’
The people were flabbergasted. They couldn’t believe what the policemen were saying. Some thought the policemen were drunk, and tried to reason out and cajole the accompanying government officials to let them sleep.
But soon they realized that the policemen meant business. Usual sloganeering started : ‘Delhi Police Hai hai! Delhi sarkar, hai hai! ’ At some places the last batch of ‘sleepers’ while coming out, bolted the door after them, trapping the policemen inside the shelter home. The startled and frightened policemen telephoned their superiors and soon reinforcements were sent to over fifteen such shelter homes.
It took quite a while for them to disperse the slogan shouting people with the DP-trademark water cannons since many beggars didn’t mind using that opportunity to have a much needed bath, even though it was past midnight. With great difficulty the doors of the shelter homes were opened and the policemen rescued.
The Lieutenant governor has taken a serious note of the situation and ordered a high level enquiry. ‘Nobody is above the law, not even the beggars! The law of the land will be enforced’ he assured the media during the impromptu press conference held in wee hours of the morning near one of the shelter homes where some policemen were injured by the begging bowls thrown at them by the beggars before running away. ‘The trouble makers will soon be apprehended, even though there were no CCTVs here’, the Police Commissioner assured.