It was 3 a.m. on Monday when Rajamma heard a knock on her door. She opened to a group of policemen and some officials who claimed to be from Namma Metro who asked her to pack up and leave.
That was when she realised her house in Jai Bhimnagar Slum near the Mohammedan Block in Malleswaram, where she had been living for over three decades, was to be demolished. Despite repeated appeals, the men refused to give her any time to pack, she claimed.
She is among 50 residents who met with a similar fate as the workers began their evacuation drive. Rajamma alleged that a policeman took Rs. 3,500 from her house.
There were accusations that the police assaulted some of them, causing two to be admitted to the K.C. General Hospital.
“Even women, children and the handicapped were dragged out,” said Gopi, another resident.
The residents, who are now literally on the streets, were told by Namma Metro personnel their belongings — including television sets, utensils and furniture — were being taken away for safekeeping, but they don't know where.
Now they have been left with no food or water.
“Why haven't they demolished the temple which lies between our houses and the road? Can they get away with demolishing a temple?” asked an anguished Jayanthi.
When contacted, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation's spokesperson said notices were issued to all the house owners in the slum two months ago as the land had been acquired by the corporation.
As many as 85 families had moved out and occupied the alternative accommodation offered at Peenya, and only 11 families stayed back despite repeated reminders, he said.
Bangalore Metro had no other option but to demolish the structures as work had to be speeded up.
He said those who stayed back were repeatedly warned, but they paid no attention.
Keywords: Deprived sections