Skip to main content

'Biased, selective' implementation of SC order to demolish Khori Gaon settlement

Counterview Desk 

In a statement on what it calls "humanitarian crisis", a group of environmentalists, social activists, academics and concerned citizens has said that on June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court passed an order to demolish the informal settlement of Khori Gaon, Haryana, yet, it is "shocking and disheartening to note that evicted residents have not received rehabilitation and justice even after a year since the large-scale demolition was ordered."
Pointing out that the settlement "majorly comprised working-class residents", the statement, issued on the  signatories' behalf by the National Alliance of People's Movements to mark one year of "gross violations by authorities and resistance by Khori Gaon residents", said, "The justification for demolishing Khori Gaon – that it is built on forest land – was questioned in the Supreme Court after the demolitions. No decision has been reached yet regarding the status of the land."


We are a group of environmentalists, social activists, academics and concerned citizens who have been noting the developments over the past year in Haryana’s Khori Gaon. We express grave concern over the disastrous turn that the situation has taken. On 7th June 2021, the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order to demolish the informal settlement of Khori Gaon, which majorly comprised working-class residents.
It is shocking and disheartening to note that evicted residents have not received rehabilitation and justice even after a year since the large-scale demolition was ordered. Hence, 7th June 2022 was observed as a 'Black Day' by Khori Gaon residents affected not only by the Court’s verdict but the unfair and selective implementation of the Court’s orders by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad.
There has been a clear violation of human rights in the entire process – residents have been treated undemocratically, not as equal citizens in a democracy but as disposable entities receiving no compassion. The SC order uprooted at least 10,000 families in Khori Gaon without offering them alternate rehabilitation. 
Evicted residents had nowhere to seek shelter, food or safety. Since June 2021, the economically and socially marginalised residents have braved harsh weather and diseases, lacking a roof over their heads. We strongly condemn the inhuman treatment, which has left deep scars on the lives of over 1 lakh residents.
The justification for demolishing Khori Gaon – that it is built on forest land – was questioned in the Hon’ble Supreme Court after the demolitions. No decision has been reached yet regarding the status of the land. Our strong point of contention is that the Municipal Corporation Faridabad flouted the Honourable Supreme Court’s order to conduct a ground survey before demolitions.
The residents and civil society members had repeatedly requested the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad to collect all documents and evidence about those occupying the houses so that there would be sufficient proof to rehabilitate the affected families. However, the Municipal Corporation Faridabad only carried out a drone survey that could not identify house numbers or the occupiers of the house.
As a result, there seems to be no record of those residing there for generations, according to Municipal Corporation Faridabad’s own admission in Court. The lack of a survey has pushed the burden of proof on the dispossessed families.
The policy that was finalised after the demolition, with a very restrictive eligibility criteria, excludes a huge number of residents. Even after the SC ordered to include other documents to prove eligibility, the rehabilitation policy was neither updated nor the criteria in the online portal accepting applications. 5011 families had filled their applications for seeking rehabilitation on the e-portal, and around 800 applications were submitted personally to the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF).
Since the majority of the residents were migrants who had settled down here in search of jobs, many possess identity cards from different states. Many falling in this group could not fill the application form as they were ineligible.
The criteria for rehabilitation are so limiting that even families residing for over four generations are finding it difficult to prove their eligibility. Even those families identified as eligible have not been able to move into the Dabua colony rehabilitation flats since they are uninhabitable.
Due to the lack of any other alternative, many families have been forced to live in makeshift houses made with tarpaulin, bricks and bamboo. Disturbingly, the MCF has repeatedly broken down the only roof over the residents’ heads, rendering them homeless multiple times.
Municipal Corporation Faridabad has created this desperate situation that the poor residents find themselves in due to the violation of the due process of rehabilitation. They have also disobeyed the SC order to provide solatium to Khori Gaon residents until the rehabilitation flats are ready. We condemn this biased and selective implementation of the judiciary’s orders in the strongest terms.
We also demand swift and appropriate action against the gangs and the land mafia responsible for selling plots to thousands of innocent residents in Khori Gaon. It is unfair that they have escaped accountability for their shameful actions when the residents have paid a heavy price. They have lost their homes, their belongings and even their dignity. These demolitions have worsened existing inequalities in society and pushed the helpless residents to destitution.
We stand in solidarity with the dispossessed population of Khori Gaon residents, who have been at the receiving end of grave injustice in their long and lonely battle to defend their rights for over a year. We wait and hope for justice to be delivered immediately by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Haryana State government. And hope those responsible for this situation are held accountable.
Every citizen has the right to dignified housing, which is integral to the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. MCF should stop using violence and evicting residents of Khori Gaon while the process is still underway. It is essential on humanitarian grounds that these families, who are equal citizens and contributors to our economy, are treated with dignity and compassion.



Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Teesta treaty? Modi sends ball to Mamata's court amidst Hasina's mango diplomacy

By Samina Akhter*  Most Bangladeshi and India media reports say that the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has received 600 kg of mangoes from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as part of her "mango-hilsa diplomacy." Hasina also delivered mangoes to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, according to the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in India. In all, 1,200 kg of Amrapali mangoes were delivered to the residences of the President and the Prime Minister of India. According to a Bangladesh's deputy high commission official in Kolkata, a few more chief ministers in the eastern region will likely receive similar gifts. Last year, not only President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi, but also the chief ministers of West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam also received mangoes from Prime Minister Hasina. Hasina delivered mangoes from Rajshahi, including kinds like Golapkhas and Amrapali, as it is the peak season for the delectable fruit in

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Cops 'refuse to register' complaint after BSF shot landless worker off Bangla border

By Our Representative  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), referring to the incident of “firing and execution” of a poor Muslim youth, has alleged that the 26 year old was was shot at “without giving any warning” one and half kilometers inside the Indian territory from Bangladesh border by an on- duty Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Stating that the person, Ruhul Mondal, belonged to an Other Backward Class (OBC), and hailed from Ramnarayan Para village under Sagarpara police station in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, Roy in his representation said, the BSF person who shot at him is “attached with Singpara Border Outpost, 141 Battalion”, underlining, the BSF has now floated “self defense theory” to cover up its operation. According to the BSF officials, the incident took place in the jute fields in

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".

Protesters demand release of Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar, seek review of SC order

By Our Representative  Protests broke out across India on June 27 following Teesta Setalvad’s arrest demanding her immediate release. Sabrang India , a site run by Setalvad, claimed she was “arrested on trumped-up charges after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition moved by Zakia Jafri demanding an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence.” The protesters also demanded release of former DGP Gujarat police RB Sreekumar, also arrested simultaneously. The protests were preceded by over 2,200 people from across the globe signing a statement demanding their immediate release. Leading signatories such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary V Suresh, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) convenor Medha Patkar, former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas. “The state has used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicit

Electoral bonds scheme 'compromises' voluntary nature PM relief fund donations

By Rosamma Thomas*  The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is meant to collect voluntary donations from the general public, either individuals or organizations, to enable assistance to people in times of natural disaster, or for expensive medical treatment. That fundamental voluntary character of the fund, however, has changed in recent years.  The gazette notification of January 2018 announcing the Electoral Bond scheme states, in Clause 12 (2): “The amount of bonds not encashed within the validity period of fifteen days shall be deposited by the authorized bank to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund”. The Union government has, thus, through notification, directed funds to be deposited into what was meant to be purely voluntary. Commodore Lokesh Batra, who has been campaigning for transparency in government functioning, holds that once a gazette notification has been issued directing that funds be deposited into the PMNRF, the character of the whole fund has changed,

Bulldozing houses in UP: India isn't Israel, Muslims living here 'aren't Palestinians'

By Naveen Tewari, Sandeep Pandey*  A recent full front page of the advertisement by a Bhartiya Janata Party government declares, 'House is not just a word. It is a place where power to dream comes and aspirations are fulfilled. Home is much about dignity and security than it is about shelter.' It further goes on to quote Narendra Modi, 'It is my dream that every Indian has a pucca house by 2022.' The occasion was dedication of houses built by a private builder Balaji to the poor. Having witnessed over the past few days the now iconic picture of a bulldozer running down the Prayagraj house of parents of female Muslim student and activist Afreen Fatima, who participated in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests, one is almost tempted to look for a fine print at the bottom of the page to the effect that the promise of house is subject to the condition that one doesn't participate in any anti-government protest otherwis

Church in India: Rooted in patriarchy, Pope Francis-initiated reforms remain on paper

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is ‘Laity Sunday’ once again on June 26! A time for the Church once again to introspect and to see whether the much flaunted ‘lay collaboration’ actually exists in reality or not! In a highly clerical and patriarchal Church, which has stubbornly refused to accept in toto the changes envisaged by Vatican II and as desired by the then Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, introducing any reforms is certainly very difficult. But Pope Francis, in his typical style, is apparently succeeding in doing so! On March 19, 2022 (Feast of St Joseph) the ninth anniversary of the formal inauguration of his pontificate, he published Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel),his new constitution for the restructuring of the Vatican Curia. It was a reform that was promised at the beginning of his pontificate; several aspects of it have already been implemented over the years. The final document, however, does make some significant changes and provides the vision of a Curia that

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization