Haldwani: Supreme Court overturns Uttarakhand deportation

New Delhi:

Thousands of people at risk of homelessness amid northern India’s harsh winter won a major reprieve from the Supreme Court on Thursday as it suspended an eviction campaign on railway land in Haldwani, Uttarakhand.

“There cannot be an uprooting of 50,000 people overnight… This is a human problem, a workable solution must be found,” the Supreme Court said, issuing a High Court order to Uttarakhand which had authorized the eviction of nearly 50,000 people who live in some 4,000 homes after a case that lasted for years.

Referring to the High Court’s suggestion to use force to evict people, the Supreme Court said: “It may not be correct to say that paramilitary forces should be deployed to evict people there. live for decades.

The court also halted all construction in the area and demanded answers from the railways and the government of Uttarakhand. He said the case would be heard again next month.

Supreme Court Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices SA Nazeer and PS Narasimha took up the case a day after lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan made a formal request.

The order is a major relief for residents who have held candlelight marches, sit-ins and prayers to stop the eviction.

The area covers a 2 km strip of land near Haldwani – Gafoor Basti, Dholak Basti and Indira Nagar railway station in Banbhulpura region.

Apart from the houses – almost half of the families claim to have a land lease – the region even has four public schools, 11 private schools, a bank, two aerial water tanks, 10 mosques and four temples, in addition to shops, built over the decades.

The case came to court in 2013 when a petition originally concerned illegal sand mining in a river near the area.

The district administration, following the December 20 court order after a long dispute, had published a notice in the newspapers asking people to remove their belongings by January 9.

Accusing the BJP government of acting against an area where most residents are Muslim, activists and politicians have also joined the protests.

Harish Rawat, a senior congressman and former chief minister, held an hour-long “maun vrat” (vow of silence) at his home in the state capital, Dehradun.

“Uttarakhand is a spiritual state,” he said, “if 50,000 people, including children, pregnant women, elderly men and women, are forced from their homes and out onto the roads, then it would be a very sad sight,” he said.

Mr. Dhami said his government would respect the Supreme Court’s decision.


Fr

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