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Delhi demolitions for G-20 summit: Whither sabka saath, sabka vikas?, asks NAPM

By Our Representative 

Well-known civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), even as expressing solidarity with “thousands of traumatized residents of Tughlakabad and some other bastis in New Delhi whose homes have been demolished and whose lives have been ravaged both prior to as well as in the lead-up to the G-20 Summit”, has said this is in utter disregard to “their minimum well-being and gross violation of their rights.”
“We condemn actions by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that launched a massive demolition drive recently, razing down nearly 1,000 houses. Additionally, hundreds of homes have been demolished in other bastis too. At some places hawkers have also faced brutal evictions, in violation of law”, NAPM stated.
In a statement, it said, “The forced evictions and demolitions carried out by the authorities have not only left close to 1,600 families comprising 2.6 lakh residents homeless, but have also resulted in the loss of their belongings and livelihoods.”
“The lack of proper resettlement prior to any move to ‘evict’ and absence of adequate support exacerbates the vulnerability of these already marginalized communities. The role of the Union government and even the Delhi government in displacing citizens out of their homes repeatedly is abominable”, it added.
NAPM noted, “The blatant violation of laws and regulations during the demolition drive is equally alarming. These actions disregard legal safeguards and due process, including provisions under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, New Delhi Municipal Council Act, 1994, and the principles outlined in the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions.” 
Forced evictions, demolitions have not only left close to 1,600 families comprising 2.6 lakh residents homeless 
Urging the authorities “to immediately cease the demolitions, investigate these violations, and provide legal remedies and redress for the homeless residents of Tughlakabad and other localities”, it underlined, “Every individual has the inherent right to a safe and secure home under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”
It added, “The forced evictions, demolitions, and mass displacements experienced by these communities who are also marginalised on the accounts of religion, caste, gender primarily in underprivileged areas like Kashmiri Gate, Yamuna Floodplains, Dhaula Kuan, Meharauli, Moolchand Basti and recently in Tughlakabad, are not only a violation of their fundamental rights but also a harsh reminder of the systemic failures on the part of the state to ensure fundamental rights of the most vulnerable sections.”
NAPM demanded that the victims of demolition should be “fully and fairly" compensated for the losses incurred, "including damage to property and loss of livelihoods”. Also, there should be “a thorough and fair investigation into the events surrounding the brutal demolition of houses as a lead-up to the G20 Summit”.
It also urged the Union and Delhi governments to stop its “repressive approach and engage in meaningful dialogue with the affected communities because it is the State’s responsibility to protect its citizens and ensure their rights, especially while hosting mega events like G-20, which have such drastic and life-altering consequences on the working poor.”
“Otherwise”, it underlined, “Big slogans like ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ remain a hollow rhetoric.”



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