With monsoon rains lashing Delhi, tough times await the homeless
With monsoon finally hitting the national Capital, the incessant rains have left many homeless people scurrying for shelter. Flyovers, nondescript staircases outside railway platforms and abandoned subways, the homeless have made space under these structures their temporary homes for the rainy season.
Many of these people come from different parts of the country looking for jobs.
They often sell balloons and toys for a living and, as things get worse, start losing everything and live on the streets, battling diseases caused by violent changes in weather and drug addiction.
Mangal came to Delhi four months ago from a neighbouring state, in search of a job. Now, he lies in front of the Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place.
"We don't have any specific place to stay. The monsoon has been a problem for everyone who sleeps on the streets. We have to rush to the nearest underpass or flyover and stay till the rain stops." He added that government-run shelter homes are also an option sometimes.
Sleeping in the open, however, is fraught with its own dangers. Many homeless people claim that they are threatened by police.
"They beat up drug addicts, but also consider us the same. They think that all of us take drugs," Mangal said.
Meanwhile, Mohan Sharma – comes from a north eastern state – says: "Shelter homes (also known as Rain Baseras) are my last option. They are overcrowded and occupied mostly by drug addicts. Many young girls also find it difficult to stay in these shelters as sexual assaults are very common there". Sharma now mostly spends his days in a park next to Chandni Chowk Metro station.
Talking to Millennium Post, many respondents gave similar reasons for not staying at Rain Baseras and choosing the open streets or places of worship instead.
Bhalla, Kishan, Raja and Rajiv – a motley crew of boys who beg at Connaught Place – claimed they have no home during the monsoon and instead slept in the open.
"Around 300 to 400 people sleep on a footpath in Shankar Market, Mayur Vihar," said one of the boys.