Homeless deaths: Delhi
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The extent of the problem
Summer (April- June) deaths, 2011-2015
See graphic: Homeless deaths in the Delhi summer (April- June), year-wise: 2011-2015(till May)
Winter (Dec- Jan) deaths, 2015-17
The biting cold continued to take its toll on the homeless, with data from the zonal integrated police network showing that at least 44 unidentified bodies had been found in the city since January 1.
Every winter month, hundreds of bodies are found at various locations — such as near railway tracks, in drains, on railway platforms and footpaths, and outside hospitals — and while, eventually, they become a part of the grim statistics, an uncomfortable questions remains unanswered: whether all these victims were homeless, and if it’s the cold that killed them.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board has now written to Delhi Police, seeking a report on the latest figure and the cause of death in these cases. Between the Januarys of 2004 and 2018 (till January 6), as many as 40,633 unidentified bodies were found on city roads.
Data for the current year showed that while most of these bodies were found near metro pillars and footpaths, the cause and circumstances of the deaths were not known. Citing the figures, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took on DUSIB. He tweeted: “Media reporting 44 deaths of homeless due to cold. Am issuing show cause notice to CEO, DUSIB. Negligible deaths last year. This year, LG appointed a useless officer. LG refuses to consult us before appointing officers. How do we run govt like this? (sic)”
Currently, DUSIB’s 261 night shelters have a capacity to house 20,934 people. Singh claimed the peak occupancy during nights this season had been 13,810. He added that there were times many homeless people refused to move to shelters.