the (mis)rule of law

Champa may soon lose her home, one she has lived in since she was a very tiny girl. Champa lives at the ill famed transit camp with her mother who works in homes as a maid.

For the past few days Champa has not been able to comprehend why her mom has not gone to work. She normally leaves at 6 am, even locking Champa out. Champa cannot comprehend why everyone is shouting and cluttering the street. All this is disturbing and unsettling.

What Champa is witnessing from the confines of her simple mind is actually a plight that is befalling many residents in India's capital city. The transit camp, as its name implies, is land that was given to slum dwellers two decades ago, when they were moved out of an upmarket location. At that time one wonders whether anyone understood what transit meant, or whether the authorities gave them a specified time frame. Over the years this camp turned into a vibrant and crowded colony, with multi floored structures where rooms were given out on rent. Greed and false promises of regularisation made by local politicians looking for votes lent a sense of false permanence and some original allottees even sold out their plots.

For the past year or so this long forgotten colony once at the edge of the city, came back into the limelight as authorities rediscovered the meaning of transit. Since many an attempt to seal or raise it have been made, each met with the understandable anger of the residents aptly supported by some local politico or the other resulting in the usual drama of protests and arrests.

But this time for reasons yet unknown it seems that this colony will be destroyed and thousands of men,women and children will yet again be rendered homeless notwithstanding their ration card or voter's ID that proudly displays a transit camp address. This time it seems that the game is over and no amount of palm greasing or political support will help.

The transit camp issue brings to light one of the worst ailment that plague our social fabric. Whereas we all know that the rule of law must prevail, laws are never respected at the initial moment but allowed to be circumvented endlessly till all avenues are explored regardless of the human factor but propelled by the greed of one and all. As a society we have to be made to understand that laws need to be respected from the time they are promulgated.

Champa's case is poignant. If her home is relocated she loses not only her home, but also the safety and protection of pwhy where she spends the only happy moments of a very sad life.

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