New Delhi: Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) on Wednesday released a report titled “Mapping the Marginalised: Delhi’s Gadia Lohar Community" which highlights the poor living conditions of the Gadia Lohar community. According to the report, all Gadia Lohar settlements consist of highly inadequate structures and poor living conditions which are further exacerbated by frequent forced evictions by state agencies without the provision of any notice or rehabilitation.
Gadia Lohar, is a community of nomads including blacksmiths who have migrated to Delhi over five decades ago. The report comes six months ahead of elections in the national capital.
“The Gadia Lohar community has been subjected to severe injustice for the past fifty years. Our only aim is to rightfully restore their dignity and respect and provide them rehabilitation, “ said Balkrishna Renake, Former Chairperson, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes said.
Renake added that they cannot avail benefits of various government schemes since approximately 99% of the community does not have caste certificates.
The report presents the findings of a primary study, conducted by HLRN in collaboration with the Gadia Lohar Sangharsh Samiti, on the absence of an adequate law and policy framework to address their continuing neglect and marginalization and recommendations for the government “to remedy the historic injustice" suffered by the Gadia Lohars.
“The community has been denied the access to basic services of health, sanitation, clean drinking water, ration and security. The Fundamental Right to Education of children is also being violated as most of these settlements lack Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)," said Ramesh Sharma, National Convenor, Ekta Parishad.
“The absence of toilets and bathrooms greatly affects the safety and dignity of women and girls, who are often forced to bathe fully clothed and defecate in the open. This increases their vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence and abuse," added Sharma.