Skip to main content

Apex Court order to evict ex-mine workers 'unjustified', violates housing right: NAPM

Counterview Desk 

Condemning the “unjustifiable” order of the Supreme Court to evict around one lakh residents of Khori Gaon, Haryana, without rehabilitation in the middle of the pandemic, India’s civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that right to housing of working class people living in precarious conditions is inalienable, and ‘environmental protection’ cannot be an excuse to deprive vulnerable people of shelter.
In a statement, NAPM said, execution of the apex court order will impact more than 10,000 households belonging predominantly to migrant labourers, who had been working as mine workers in Aravallis when mining activities were taking place in the region. They lost their livelihoods as mining was rightly prohibited to conserve the environment.

Text:

National Alliance of People’s Movements denounces the ill-timed and grossly arbitrary order of the Supreme Court on June 7, 2021, directing Faridabad Municipal Corporation to demolish the entire Housing Board Society of Khori Gaon, rendering homeless about 1,00,000 people (as conveyed by the locals) in the middle of the pandemic. We also condemn the clamping down on legitimate citizens’ protests against demolition without prior rehabilitation, particularly the use of lathi charge and the detention and arrest of protestors.
Execution of the order of the Apex Court within the stipulated time period of maximum 6 weeks from July 7 will impact more than 10,000 households belonging predominantly to migrant labourers, who have been living on the land for over two decades. 
Many of the residents came to work as mine-workers in this part of the Aravallis, when mining activities were taking place in the region. They lost their livelihoods as mining was rightly prohibited, over the years, to conserve the environment. Many of them have also been more recently and seriously affected by loss of work during the extended time of the pandemic.
The residents claim that they have time and again shown in court that they bought the land on which the houses are constructed, around two decades back. However, the Supreme Court refused to adequately acknowledge the need for their proper rehabilitation. The court Order sees the people as ‘encroachers’ on forest land falling under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), thereby pitting against each other, environmental and social justice rights. 
Ironically, though not unusually, the drastic measures are taken against residents of the 15 colonies, who are labourers and working-class migrant workers, whereas various high-end hotel complexes built on the same land are said to be left undisturbed and illegal mining activities continue in the area.
Following earlier demolitions in April 2021, the residents, who have been fighting cases against eviction for a decade, had approached the Supreme Court for protection and rehabilitation before demolition. However, the Supreme Court Order advised ‘no compromise’ in their removal from the land and permitted the use of the police force if needed.
In the latest, ongoing protests, following the Supreme Court order on July 7, the residents appeal to the Haryana government and Supreme Court on humanitarian grounds, demanding that ‘protection of the environment’ not be used as a stick to beat an already struggling community, which includes over 20,000 children below 18 and 5,000 pregnant, lactating and single mothers. The local people claim that the authorities have already cut their water supply and electricity. 
Women protesting on June 14 spoke of the disproportionate gendered impact the displacement is going to have, leaving single women, and other vulnerable women bereft of community support, as well as on the older people currently living in the community. Evicting them now would be signing their death sentence, people say.
While the Supreme Court order prescribes strict action against the working-class communities living in Khori Gaon, construction work continues unabated adding to the over 500 farm houses, hotels, and multistorey buildings and illegal mining that takes place with no legal action against those responsible for destroying the environment.
Protesting women spoke of disproportionate gendered impact of displacement, leaving vulnerable women bereft of community support
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) is deeply concerned about the right to life, safety, health and housing of the affected communities. While we fully subscribe to the need to save the Aravalli Forest cover from mining, real estate and other destructive activities, we also emphasize the need to protect constitutional and human rights of vulnerable populations and hold accountable the organized mafia that has a much bigger role in the destruction of the forest for profit.
We stand in solidarity with the ongoing protests of the people of Khori Gaon, led by women of the community and with other networks, groups and concerned citizens raising their voices against the damaging Supreme Court Order and demolition drive. We demand the following:
  1. The Supreme Court must immediately stay its Order on the demolition of the 10,000 households, at least during the pandemic period. The principle set by the Apex Court itself on previous occasions of ‘no displacement, without rehabilitation’ must be upheld under all circumstances.
  2. No forced evictions or demolitions must be undertaken by the Govt of Haryana, during the pandemic, especially when the National Disaster Management Act is in force.
  3. Haryana Govt must put in place a structured and transparent mechanism and Plan of Action for the full and fair rehabilitation of the over 1,00,000 residents of Khori Gaon: (a) The 2,545 houses already constructed under JNNURM and lying vacant since 2011 must be allotted on priority to the residents. (b) All other people should be recognized and provided rehabilitation through Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY). (c) Persons who don’t have necessary documents to fall under PMAY should be seen as migrant workers and provided rehabilitation in rental housing.
  4. Transit camps, with all requisite amenities, including food, water, health care, sanitation, covid safety measures, must be made available for the residents, during the process of shifting.
  5. Any pending cases against the protestors must be withdrawn immediately and no further punitive action be taken against them.
  6. Legal action must be initiated against those who sold land which falls under PLPA to the current residents of Khori Gaon, starting two decades back, in unauthorized ways.
  7. A High-Level Independent Committee must be set up to inquire into the more than 500 farm houses, hotels etc. also occupying this land.
  8. The Parliamentary Standing Committee must initiate a dialogue with the concerned departments of the Govt. of Haryana and the Union Govt. to arrive at a more environmentally just legal plan for the long-term protection of the Aravalli forests and to protect the housing and livelihood rights of the poor who have settled in these government lands over time. The use of the PLPA Act must be carefully investigated before vulnerable people are treated as ‘encroachers’.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Industries dumping effluents into Narmada, destroying Adivasis' organic farms: Medha

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar believes that it is not just rehabilitation issues which nag the Sardar Sarovar dam affected people, especially Adivasis who have lived along the Narmada river for centuries.  The river water is now facing excessive sand mining, on one hand, and effluent discharge in Narmada and its tributaries, on the other, making people increasingly restive, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part 2*): *** Q: Apart from rehabilitation, which other issues, in your view, are affecting people living next to the Narmada river today? A: Since in 2019, when they filled up the dam to the full reservoir level, 138 metres, we notice, the river is going down and down and down... Q: Is it because of the climate change? A: Partly, but the main reason is illegal, unbound, unwanted sand mining. Just as Yamuna got finished, Narmada is following the same pattern. We won the case against illegal mining. There are also a number of judgments, like

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

Ukraine: Why Gandhi's thinking offers serious alternative to today's 'violent' civilization

By Prem Singh*  Splintered lies the ethics, In varying degrees Which both have bent The Pandavas less, the Kauravas more Oh, when will this bloodletting end …? – 'Andha Yug', Dharamveer Bharati. The Russia-Ukraine war shows no signs of ending. However, there continue to be constant statements, discussions, and write ups from leaders, diplomats, experts, officials, scholars and ordinary citizens on various aspects related to the war. Whatever the significance of this whole exercise in the discussion of the causes, implications, effects, consequences etc. of war, it has been if little help in exerting any positive influence. It seems that modern violent civilization doesn't appear to have many options, not only by politicians and diplomats, but also by various experts and scholars who have taken their stand on the war. It can also be said that that they do not perceive modern civilization as violent. The UN general secretary says that the Russia-Ukraine war is an absurdity, a

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as

Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records. Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment." Text : Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home. The name o