Dalit families displaced by Delhi airport demand immediate justice



Is there a single infrastructure development project that is not tainted by irregularities, corruption and oppression? Certainly not when one considers the history of New Delhi’s pride – the Indira Gandhi International Airport, India’s busiest passenger and cargo traffic terminal, winner of several ‘Best Airport’ awards. While the original expansion plan of the 1960s engulfed more than 12000 bighas of agricultural land of the village Nangal Dewat amidst huge resistance and repression, the saga of oppression still continues even after decades of the airport being operationalized.

This time, the 58 Dalit families who were thrown out of their homes in 2007 are back on the streets to demand the original land-for-land compensation that was promised but never delivered even after 9 years. They have set-up an indefinite dharna right outside the Airport Authorities Office, next to Rajiv Bhavan – the Civil Aviation Ministry. It has been 60 days since they are holding vigil and haven’t received a fair hearing from the airport officials.

It has been 9 years since they were removed from their original village with false hopes which were later brutally shattered. Out of 122 families, most were offered land and rehabilitated in New Nangal Dewat but 58 Dalit families were excluded from the lists on various concocted pretexts.

Displaced and cheated families come from backgrounds like Julahas, Valmikis, Kumhars, Harijans etc.

They are in no mood for fake assurances.

In the past, the Delhi High Court has ordered AAI to compensate all 122 families adequately which went unheard.

The then Lt. Governor of Delhi, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Ministers like Udit Raj and Ramesh Bidhuri, even Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written 3 letters to these authorities. And not a step has been taken to address their grievances.

Who gives such impunity to the air business?

As of now, Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) is a joint venture in which 64 per cent is owned by diversified group GMR. The state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) has 26 per cent shareholding and the remaining 10 per cent is with Germany’s Fraport.

To visit protest site and meet the protesting families, contact Anil Lohia (General Secretary, Schedule Caste Welfare Society, Nangal Dewat) 9599297607. For solidarity, contact Rishit Neogi at neogi.rneogi@gmail.com or 9560986354.

One Comment

  1. The partisan attitude of AAI in rehabilitating dalit families should be condemned. The corporate tycoons with rulers support are overlooking the problems of dalits and their lives due to displacement. Civil society in Delhi and other parts of the country must denounce such partiality and organise protests against the airport authority