Hero to homeless, twist of fate stuns rat-hole miner Wakeel Hasan : The Tribune India

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Hero to homeless, twist of fate stuns rat-hole miner Wakeel Hasan

Is demolition reward for my service, asks Hasan | Delhi Development Authority demolished his house

Hero to homeless, twist of fate stuns rat-hole miner Wakeel Hasan

Rat-hole miner Wakeel Hasan and his family outside their demolished house at Khajuri Khas in New Delhi on Thursday. MANAS RANJAN BHUI



Tribune News Service

Samad Hoque

New Delhi, February 29

In a shocking turn of events, Wakeel Hasan, hailed as a hero for his valiant efforts during the Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, now finds himself without a roof over his head. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished his house at Shri Ram Colony in the Khajuri Khas area on Wednesday.

Editorial: Homeless hero

Just months ago, Hasan basked in the adulation of a grateful nation, showered with praises from politicians, media and the public alike. His selfless service in rescuing 41 trapped labourers from the depths of a treacherous tunnel earned him the admiration of all. Today, he sits outside what was once his home, his spirit weighed down by a cruel twist of fate.

“There were tears of joy when I returned home after the tunnel rescue. But now, I sit as a homeless person with tears of sorrow,” Hasan laments. His plea for a modest dwelling was met with promises from the authorities, promises that now lie shattered like the walls of his demolished house. “I never imagined such a fate awaited me. It feels like a reward from the government for my service,” he reflects bitterly. Passing through the narrow and busy lane in Khajuri, Hasan’s house was in the middle of a bazaar, with five to six shops adjacent to it. He questions why was only his house demolished which is in the middle and how could only a part of the area be unauthorised? Recounting the ordeal, Hasan says when his daughter called him, he advised them to lock the gates from inside and wait till he reached home.

“However, they broke the gate and even manhandled my kids in which my 17-year-old son Azeem got injured,” he claims. Hasan says when he questioned the demolition and asked for the notice, they took it in a wrong way and took the family to the police station. “I feel I was targeted because I belong to a minority community,” he adds.

His daughter, Aliza (15), who is in Class X, missed her exam on Thursday. His wife Shabana says, “Our belongings, memories, all left behind in rubble.”

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