Child didn’t die during demolition: Prabhu

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday dubbed as untrue allegations that an infant died when hutments built on railway land were razed here two days ago.

He also promised to invite Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to discuss how people left homeless due to the Saturday demolition could be rehabilitated and how public land could be put to use.

Responding to the concern of Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann in the Lok Sabha, Prabhu said the demolition was carried out after sending repeated notices to people in the hutments at Shakur Basti in west Delhi to vacate the land.

When Mann referred to the death of a six-month-old baby, Prabhu said the child expired “much before the demolition drive” began.

The minister said the Northern Railway had informed him that encroachment had become an impediment for building a new passenger terminal and was also a safety hazard.

Hundreds were rendered homeless in the winter chill and a six-month-old baby died as authorities demolished some 500 hutments on Saturday.

Prabhu said two notices had been served on the people living there and they were again told two days before the demolition to vacate the land.

“The whole exercise was peaceful,” he said.

The minister said he will invite Kerjriwal, preferably on Monday itself, to discuss “how public land could be used” and people “rehabilitated with a humanitarian approach”.

Mann said earlier that the Delhi government was not consulted over the razing. He called it an “atrocity on the poor”.

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