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Used to earn a living, Delhi's 'marginalised' communities now struggle to feed themselves

Counterview Desk
Volunteers of several civil society organizations*, providing financial assistance and food and sanitary kits (sanitizer, mask, towels and soap) to Delhi’s marginalised families, especially sewer workers, sanitation workers, daily wage labourers, denotified tribes and ragpickers, have found that while they used to earn a living till now, today they are "struggling to feed themselves”.
During their voluntary work, they interacted with residents of Dalshad Garden, Kalander Colony (where with denotified tribe families live); Gaurishankar Enclave, Prem Nagar-III, Nangloi area under te Kirari Legislative Assembly, Delhi; and Ghazipur area (where mangta community lives), finding out how all of them have been pushed to the edge because of the lockdown, now in its fourth phase.

Excerpts:

The Kalander Colony makes a living by playing tricks of animals such as monkeys,bears etc. About 500 families reside in this colony.
Anifa, who lives there, said that the lockdown is causing a lot of trouble. She has ration card but isn't receiving full ration rather it is less. They have three children and used to earn by demonstrating monkey show. She has been living in this colony for thirty years.
Haneef, who has been living here for 50 years, said that he has been showing monkey game since a very long time back but now this work is possible. Now, they have no employment and no government facilities. Before the lock down, the show could get them earn Rs 300 per day, in which he used to feed his family.
Due to the lockdown, he is unable to go to work. If he tries to go out, he will be lathicharged by the police. He is unable to get ration as there is some error in his ration card. He is worried that he and his family might die of hunger.
Amin, a labourer working for moldings, said that when the factory was shut down due to coronavirus, his work was also stopped. In such a situation, raising the family became a big problem for him. Getting ration once a month is not sufficient for a family of 5. He has been living in the colony for 30 years.
Salim Pahlawan of Kalandar Samaj told that ration is not being provided enough. Token is distributed in the morning after standing in line overnight. You get a ration after 8 days of procuring token. This colony is not getting any facility provided by the government, due to this, there has been a situation of starvation here. 
Chaudhary Inderpal Singh Nut, who is national president and in-charge of the Natt Ghumakkad Samaj Kalyan Samiti, Uttar Pradesh, also described the pain and said that more people have come to the position of starving than being infected with coronavirus. Here monkey-bear game show showers etc. people of nomadic society live. The community will die of starvation due to ban in their work.
The junk picker Rihanna said that due to the lockdown, there is a lot of trouble for getting food for her children. Earlier in lockdown, some people used to give ration because of which she was able to survive, later some people used to give food.
Now everything has stopped. All responsibility for the maintenance of the family is on her shoulders as her husband is a drug addict. Today she does not have even a single penny to buy milk for the children nor is she able to provide food.
***  
The second area of relief work was done in Gaurishankar Enclave, Prem Nagar-III, Nangloi area under Kirari Legislative Assembly, Delhi.
Residents Welfare Association (RWA) president of Gaurishankar Enclave Nanu Prasad told the team that the migrant laborers here have come from places like Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jhansi etc. live on rent. He used to get Rs 5,000 per month for working in the factory.
Balakishan, who used to make buckets, is no longer working due to lockdown. His daughters is ill, but he has no means to take care of her
Kranti said that she used to clean drains here on contract. She is stuck with three children here for the last 2 - 2.5 months. She is a migrant labourer who came from Damau to work in Ghazipur. There is no assistance of any kind.
There have been two incidents of stone pelting here for procuring ration. The police also lathicharge them. People want to go to their respective villages from here, though some people left on foot. The situation of tenants is very critical. 
***
The third area of relief was Ghazipur area, where mangta community lives. When the relief team reached the site, the team was confronted by the police which tried to stop the relief team. The police had also tried to vacate the settlements earlier. The team was involved in dialogue with the police and the matter was resolved.
Ram Prakash of this colony, while expressing his trouble said that he belongs to the wandering caste of Chamars. There is a lot of trouble to eat and drink here. People here are from Unnao, Hardoi and Donda Bairahi. Due to the lockdown, there is a problem of eating and drinking in this colony. They want to go back to their village. But the police is not letting them go.
Balakishan who lived here for 30 years, used to make buckets, is no longer working due to lockdown. One of his daughters is ill, he has no means to take care of her. A gentleman is helping his family by giving them food. He belongs to district Unnao. They don’t have enough money to even go back to their village.
Chaudhary Inderpal Singh Nut said that condition is very bad in this colony. They do not have water to drink. Some people were arranging water for them. The government did nothing. People of this community made their living by making iron gates, tin-canisters, but the epidemic has worsened their condition. Today, they are hungry and thirsty. Some people of mangta community have gone to their villages on foot in this pandemic.
The deplorable condition of this community was explained by Indrapal Singh Natt. When the relief team reached the site, the team was confronted by the police which tried to stop the relief team. The Police had also tried to vacate the settlements earlier. The team was involved in dialogue with the police and the matter was resolved.
---
*Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch, National Alliance of People's Movement, Ambedkarwadi Lekhak Sangh, Delhi Solidarity Group, Magadh Foundation, Rehabilitation Research Initiative, Natt Ghumakkad Samaj Kalyan Samiti, Residents Welfare Association (RWA) Gauree Shankar Enclave, Delhi Forum, Sruti and Helping Hands Charitable Trust

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