Besahaaraa Insaan Kaa Ghar Enquiry
Demolition of destitute care home
- R.P. Dhasmana,
Delhi, National PUCL Enquiry Committee
General Secretary Dr. Y.P. Chhibbar deputed Shri RP Dhasmana from Uttaranchal
P.U.C.L as a one-member enquiry Committee to enquire into the bulldozing
of Besahaaraa Insaan kaa Ghar at Sonipat in Haryana on September 8, 2001.
story of Besahaaraa Insaan kaa Ghar, in brief, is as follows: Some
people in Sonipat came together to form a team/group for looking after
those who had nothing to fall back upon. These people addressed themselves
as Sahayogis. Ms Krishna Sharma, one Sahayogi, gifted her plot of land
(¾ acres) situated at Rathdhanaa Road near the railway bridge for
constructing a shelter on the condition that it will neither be sold nor
used for some other purpose. A society was got registered having the name
Bhagwaani Dharma Maanava Sewa Dhaam. Shri Sumer Chand, a known social
activist, was put in charge. The foundation stone of Besahaaraa Insaan
Kaa Ghar was laid on December 25, 1994 by the then Minister of Haryana
Government, Ms. Shanti Rathi. Padmabhushan Swami Kalyan Devji Maharaj
opened the Ghar on December 27, 1995. Individuals suffering from T.B.,
Cancer, etc, insane people, persons with festering wounds full of maggots
were given shelter. 15 old men and women completed their life's span in
the Ghar. In all nearly 100 helpless people took shelter there. The Sahayogis
did the entire work of looking after. There was no paid employee. In 1995,
the Ghar obtained a stay order from the court after it heard that it's
building might be demolished. First, the municipality laid its claim on
the plot but the court gave its decree in favour of Ms. Krishna Sharma.
Next, the Industries Department pasted its notice on its walls. The Ghar
was granted a stay from the court. After this the PWD served a notice
that the land was under illegal occupation for the last one year, whereas
the Ghar had been running for 7 years. An appeal with the Commissioner,
Rohtak was pending when the house was demolished. The report of the Enquiry
Committee is as follows - General Secretary)
The Committee went to Rohtak on December 11, 2001. On its way to the site
it talked to people on the roadside to find out the way. The people identified
the place as Anaathaashram of Sumer Chand. When the Committee reached
there two elderly persons were sitting with 4 handicapped persons in the
open near the place where the Ghar once stood.
The 4 handicapped persons were:
- Mohan (14 years).
He has been suffering from epilepsy. He was brought at the Ghar at the
age of 10 years.
- Ghammu (50 years).
He was brought from the Subzimandi (vegetable market) two years back.
He was suffering from cancer in his left leg. The doctors had advised
amputation. He was being given indigenous treatment.
- Nuruddin (9 years).
He was brought here about 18 months ago. Nearly half of his skull had
an open wound infested with maggots. The Committee was told that he
recovered with indigenous medicines.
- Doda, (18 years).
He was in the Ghar for two and a half years.
The Committee talked
to Shri Sumer Chand and Shri Rajendra Davar, a retired Principal. The
Committee was told that there was a 5th inmate, a one-year old girl child,
who was being looked after by Ms. Krishna who happened to be the wife
of Shri Sumer Chand. At that time Ms. Krishna was busy in an engagement
ceremony in the family. Later, the Committee saw the child also, named
The Committee was told that Shri Sumer Chand had named all the inmates.
We were told that the Bhagwaani Dharma Maanava Sewa Dhaama had, as its
members, Sarvashri Sumer Chand, Rajendra Davar, Rameshwar Dutt, PVSM,
Gurubaksh Rai, (now deceased), Ms. Krishna Sharma, Ramkaran, and Mukesh.
The Committee was told that the Ghar had served about 100 persons during
these years. 15 aged inmates stayed on while other aged persons left after
The Committee was told that most of the help for the construction of the
building from the citizens came in kind, e.g., building material, cement,
white-washing material, etc. The only time when a cash payment of Rs 60,000
was made to the contactor, money was raised from 12 persons in the city
who contributed Rs 5000 each. The routine daily requirements of the inmates
for food, etc, like wheat, rice, vegetable, grinding of wheat, was contributed
in kind. Part of the plot was used for growing vegetable. This left no
room for monetory gain by those who were running it. Sometimes, even the
Civil Hospital and the Police sent helpless persons to the Ghar.
The entire building of this Besahaaraa Insaan Kaa Ghar starting with the
gate to enter the compound was bulldozed on September 8, 2001 at 5 am
without serving any notice on the Society. Shri Sumer Chand told the Committee
that he was an environmentalist, a social activist, and a political worker
though now he had no political involvement. Long back, he had contested
elections to the State Vidhan Sabha as a candidate sponsored by the village
Panchayats. He claimed that he had planted about 900 trees in the city
and adjoining villages and only about 50 out of them did not survive.
Shri Sumer Chand told the Committee that when Shri Devilal was the Chief
Minister of Haryana, Shri Srikrishna Gupta, Chairperson of the Sonipat
Municipal Committee, lodged an FIR with the Police charging that the municipal
water pipe at the site of the Ghar was broken and water was being illegally
diverted. Later the municipality also claimed the plot in question. Another
FIR was lodged. There were other civil and criminal suits also. During
the hearing in one of the cases Shri Srikrishna Gupta was declared hostile
and the Court gave a decree in favour of Smt. Krishna and said that she
was the owner of the plot. When the new government was formed in the year
2000, Shri Sumer Chand alleges that they received verbal messages that
if they paid Rs. 10 lakh the matter would be settled. Shri Sumer Chand
approached Shri Devilal against this harassment. Four days after the death
of Shri Devilal, the Public Work Department, as mentioned in the beginning
of the report, sent a notice that the society had been occupying PWD land
for a year.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, in the meanwhile, granted a stay saying
that the buildings should not be demolished till April 11, 2000. The Bhagwaani
Dharma Maanava Sewa Dhaam appealed in the court of Additional Civil Judge
(SD), Sonipat, Ms Paramvir Nijjar. The court fixed hearing on November
2, 2001. The Interim Order was to Stay till then. However, the buildings
were demolished on September 8, 2001, much earlier than that.
When the building was brought down in the early morning of September 8,
2001, eight inhabitants were sleeping inside. Three of the inmates ran
away out of fear, the remaining 5 were there. They were still there when
the Committee visited the place. Ms. Krishna is looking after the one-year-old
girl, Mahak. At present the inmates are sleeping under a tin-sheet roof
over a wooden platform-like structure on a sandy land. The structure is
open from two sides. Their plight is miserable.
The Committee tried to contact the district Collector at his office. The
Committee was told that he had not yet come to the office. Attempts were
made to meet him twice at his residence, all in vain.
A careful consideration of the facts the Committee has come to the following
- Bhagwaani Dharma
Maanava Sewa Dhaam and Besahaaraa Insaan kaa Ghar are social institutions
founded by respectable individuals driven by selfless motive.
- These institutions
are not a source of collecting or earning money.
- The track record
of the Besahaaraa Insaan Kaa Ghar shows that the people behind it have
looked after the helpless and the destitute with great care and affection.
- The complex maze
of law cases and counter cases apart, some destitute inmates, the youngest
one being of one-year, had to be looked after.
- It should be responsibility
of the State to provide shelter to the remaining inmates at government
expense at some equally comfortable place under the supervision of the
Sahayogis of Besahaaraa Insaan kaa Ghar.