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Displaced Khori Gaon residents mark human rights day, plan protests in Jan-end

By Our Representative 

As part of the Quit Hate, Save Constitution campaign, the civil rights group Team Saathi organised a march on December 10, Human Rights Day, in which thousands of displaced residents of Khori Gaon, situated in Faridabad district, Haryana, participated in the march. A peaceful protest of about 10 km was undertaken to demand housing rights and rehabilitation for all.
Among those who supported the protest included Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Dr Sunilam, unorganised workers' leader Arun Srivastava, JS Walia of the Yusuf Meher Ali Centre, Sonu Yadav of the Delhi Solidarity Group, Radheshyam of the Rajasthan Khanan Grasth Sangharsh Samiti, among others.
The protest march was also attended by residents from Jamai Colony, who spoke about the demolition proceedings currently taking place there. The march started by paying tribute to Vimal Bhai, the main Khori Gaon leader who passed way some time back, and concluded by garlanding the statue of Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
Speakers expressed concern over the rising discrimination and hatred-based on religion, class, caste and gender in the country and resolved to live with love, peace, and harmony. They highlighted that most governments were committing human rights violations. Especially minorities, Dalits, women, and tribals were being systematically targeted.
Speakers said that on December 10, 2022, United Nations (UN) appealed for a dignified, free, and just life for all citizens of the world. However, the Government of India had been acting against this principle. The demolition of Khori Gaon was just one such example.
Concern was raised about "challenging political times", when hate speech is being used as a social and political tool to deny communities equality and dignity. Through violence, people were being silenced and made powerless.
It was pointed out, homes of the working classes were being bulldozed under the pretext of illegality. But the farmhouses, hotels and government institutions are being protected. Demolitions were driven by an anti-poor ideology where the government had no place in the city for those who built and kept the city functioning.
More than 16 months had passed since the forced eviction of Khori Gaon, yet most residents have not been rehabilitated, activists said. The right to housing was enshrined in the Constitution, yet more than 90% of Khori Gaon residents had been denied this right. Every Khori Gaon resident had bought their plot of land, yet they were called encroachers.
Nearly 10,00 houses were demolished in Khori Gaon, with its residents pushed into poverty. Yet, in the name of rehabilitation, only 1,009 families were included in the eligibility list who are being sent to Dabua colony, which was uninhabitable, the speakers said.
A the end of the meeting, it was decided that a large number of displaced residents of Khori Gaon will participate in the march from Palwal to Delhi from January 26 to 30. On January 30, a meeting will be held at Jantar Mantar in Delhi as part of the Quit Hate, Save Constitution campaign.

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