Commitment to transparent functioning

We at Pardarshita strongly feel that while we demand the government departments to be transparent with everyone, we also have a duty of maintaining transparency in terms of our own work, expenditures, funding and so on. So, to re-iterate our commitment towards ethical and pardarshi work, we invite anyone to inspect our books of accounts.

Friday, 6 January 2012

No voter IDs for slum cluster residents

As area electoral officer categorises them ‘Bangladeshi migrants’

Ashpreet Sethi, New Delhi, Jan 2, DHNS:

Over 500 slum dwellers near New Seemapuri in East Delhi have been repeatedly denied voter identity cards despite residence proof being submitted by them to the office of the area Electoral Registration Officer (ERO).

The residents claimed they had all documents to prove that they are Delhi residents but the ERO had not verified these papers since 2010. A right to information application filed by Pardarshita, a human rights group, says that they are being denied voter ID cards because the ERO has wrongly categorised all residents of this cluster as “Bangladeshi migrants”.

The list produced by the ERO and police shares details of more Muslims and Hindus with names such as Nargis, Saddam, Shabana, Nazma, Sudeep, Chetan and Jayanti apparently contradicting their own allegations that the cluster has mostly Bangladeshi residents.

Police verification
These names were given for police verification in January 2010 but no investigations have been taken place yet. “It is not difficult to comprehend that the officer is not giving them voter ID cards because of area categorisation. Their right to identity is being violated. Today, if I start staying in this JJ cluster, the ERO will not give me a voter ID card even if I have all documents stating that I am a resident of Delhi. This is discrimination on the basis of the locality in which these people stay,” said Rajiv Kumar, a member of Pardarshita.

Neelam Devi, one such resident, has been visiting the ERO's office almost every week but is disheartened to hear that all residents are being discriminated because of some Bangladeshi migrants. “All of us are not from Bangladesh. Migrants constitute only ten per cent of the entire community population. We have been waiting for the police to come and verify our documents.”

While replying to the RTI, Ujjwal Mishra, additional commissioner of police, special branch Delhi, said: “Most of the Bangladeshis are living in JJ clusters in different parts of Delhi like Seelampur, Seemapuri, Azadpur market, Nizamuddin, Jungpura and others. To ensure that Bangladeshi migrants do not succeed in getting photo identity cards we take precautions that include investigations of Bangla-speaking people in slums, they are asked to produce birth certificates issued by the municipal corporation.”

The electoral registration department claims they had sent letters to these residents asking them to visit the New Seemapuri police station for verification. However, residents say they have not received any letter from the ERO department.

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