PRESS RELEASE: Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

Saturday, January 19, 2013, Bangalore

Issued by: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People’s Democratic
Forum (PDF) & Concern – Bangalore

The BBMP today began demolition of homes and evicting residents from the
EWS quarters at Ejipura.  During the process of demolition and eviction
protestors were lathi charged, physically dragged by the police and
arrested – all of them women. They have been remanded to judicial custody
till next Tuesday. These women have been separated from their families and
homes, and cannot protect their shelters and belongings from the demolition
bulldozers.

The BBMP official, B T Ramesh who was at the spot could not produce any
official documents that showed that he and his crew had the authority to
demolish structures and evict residents. Nor did he produce any copy of the
notification supposedly shared with the residents a month back.  Notices
which the BBMP claimed were pasted on the houses, were not visible on any
of the houses. All the residents that we spoke to had not been notified and
were unaware of this demolition drive.

In a meeting with the BBMP Commissioner today, Mr. Siddaiah agreed to stop
demolitions of the occupied homes and to give a time period of 3 months for
evacuation. In fact, Mr. Siddaiah called BT Ramesh in presence of activists
and EWS residents. However, the demolition continued unabated; Mr. Ramesh
insisted on a written order from Commissioners office, who conveniently
disappeared by then. As of this afternoon, the police had given a 6 pm
notice to the residents to clear their belongings.  As of now, it is
reported that as many as 500 homes have been razed to the ground by the
BBMP bulldozers today. Many families are out on the streets, since they do
not have the finances or support to re-locate. Children whose mothers were
arrested are in streets – searching them. Women cry helpless, not knowing
where to take their young and old.

We, the members of civil society, representing different organisations
(PUCL, PDF, and Concern) condemn the deplorable and inhuman way the
demolitions, police violence and evictions have been implemented. We call
for an immediate and complete halt to the eviction of residents and the
demolition of occupied homes in the EWS quarters. We further demand that
all charges against the residents and activists be dropped.

 Right to shelter is one of the principle rights enshrined in Article 21 of
our constitution. A state, under no circumstance, has a right to go against
either the letter or the spirit of this right without providing alternative
arrangements for all those it renders homeless. Further the police
protection of demolitions does not legitimise its use of brute force and
physical violence against the weakest in our society – who are but
protesting, losing their all.

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