New Delhi: Amid an uproar over demolition of slums in an anti-encroachment drive by the Indian Railways in Shakur Basti area here and a six-month-old child's death being allegedly linked to it, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Sunday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
The announcement comes in the backdrop of a controversy erupted today after Railways conducted a demolition drive at Shakur Basti in west Delhi in which 1, 200 slum units were removed, with the public transporter insisting that the action was necessary to clear the "encroachments" for expanding the infrastructure.
During the drive, a six-month-old baby died in one of the slum units, which the railways insisted occurred two hours before the demolition started at 12 PM yesterday.
Later, slum residents created an uproar over the child's death. They alleged that the child had died in the anti-encroachment drive.
Railway sources, however, have denied the allegations, saying that the death of the child occurred in one of the slums around 10 am and had nothing to do with the removal of encroachments.
The residents also insisted that their homes were demolished without any prior warning or notice.
According to the Railways, a number of notices were issued to encroachers to vacate its land during the last nine months, but the locals did not vacate.
Meanwhile, a fresh face-off between the Delhi government and the Centre erupted today over demolition drive and death of the six-month-old baby at the site, evoking angry protest from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who wanted murder case to be filed.
Police said prima facie the baby died due to suffocation after a heap of clothes fell on it when the parents were preparing to clear out of the jhuggi and hence no case was registered.
CM Kejriwal, while slamming the railways, suspended two Sub-Divisional Magistrates and another senior official for "failing to arrange" food and shelter for those evicted.
According to media reports, Delhi CM will also raise the issue with Railway minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials' response.
(With Agency inputs)