Delhi's poor swept from the streets for Commonwealth Games

By staff writers
September 30, 2010

Human rights campaigners say the Indian government is treating the poor on Delhi's streets like "human rubbish" in its Commonwealth Games "clean up".

With the eyes of the world on India's capital in the run-up to the games, a recent United Nations report has claimed that up to 400,000 people in Delhi have been forced from their homes over the past three years.

Shivani Chaudry from the Housing and Land Rights Network explained: "These evictions are carried out under the guise of city beautification and urban renewal measures to create a 'world class city'."

He continued: "To please Westerners, Indian officials want to first criminalise the poor people and then make them invisible. It's very worrying that officials can think and talk like this."

Shanty towns across the city have been razed to the ground by the authorities. Some have been deemed too close to Commonwealth Games venues.

Others have been demolished to make way for car parks, road improvement schemes, shopping facilities and entertainment venues.

Chaudry added: "Mega events like the Commonwealth Games act as powerful symbols for cities vying for the global tag. But to host these events cities require extensive stretches of land in prime locations. Clearing these causes significant displacement of poor communities."

There were protests outside Games venues and sites of demolition today (30 September 2010), but police have rapidly broken them up and are instructed to quell dissent rapidly.


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