DDA demolition | Uttarkashi tunnel rescuer Wakeel Hassan, family spend second night on footpath

    The Hawk
    March1/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Rat-hole miner Wakeel Hassan, hero of the Silkyara tunnel rescue, faces a new challenge after his home in Delhi's Khajoori Khas was demolished by the DDA.

    Wakeel Hassan

    New Delhi: "We will not move from this site," says Wakeel Hassan, a rat-hole miner who was part of the Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, sitting on a footpath where he and his family spent their second night after losing their house in a demolition drive.

    "My family and I continue to spend the night in the open. Some locals are providing us with food and water, etc.," Hassan said on Friday, a day after he refused an offer by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to move him and his family to an EWS flat in Narela.

    "We have now accepted the night as a challenge," he said, adding the family has not received any help from the government so far.

    Hassan was part of a team of miners who rescued 41 workers trapped inside Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel by manually drilling through the debris in November last year.

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    His house in northeast Delhi's Khajoori Khas was razed in a demolition drive by the DDA on Wednesday.

    He told PTI on Thursday that DDA officials had told him that he would be provided a house but he refused the offer as it was only a 'verbal assurance'.

    Later in the day, he demanded that his house be reconstructed on the same land and threatened to go on a hunger strike if his demand is not met.

    While Hassan claims his house was demolished without prior information, the DDA has said he was aware of his house's 'status of encroachment' as it had been previously removed in 2016 and the land was encroached upon again in 2017.

    The DDA said said that "in its role as an authority, it cannot allow encroachment on its land or unauthorised constructions in its development areas".