India: Supreme Court Halts Demolition of 4K Homes

    India: Supreme Court Halts Demolition of 4K Homes
    Last updated Jan 05, 2023
    Image credit: India Today


    • On Thursday, India's Supreme Court stayed the decision of the Uttarakhand High Court to demolish over 4K homes located along the railway line in the Banbhulpura district of the town of Haldwani, which would have rendered over 50k people, primarily Muslims, homeless.[1]
    • The Supreme Court ruled that the residents, reportedly 25K voters and 15K children living in a 78-acre tract, could not be evicted by force without a thorough review of their rights to the property, deeming this case a "human issue."[2]
    • Protests erupted after railway authorities carried out a survey of "illegal encroachments" in the railway land following a removal order by the Uttarakhand High Court that would result in the demolition of houses, temples, mosques, and schools.[3]
    • Activists and politicians that joined demonstrations blamed the action on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claiming that the sudden illegality of these buildings was due to the area's Muslim-majority population.[4]
    • Following Thursday's ruling, residents of the area gathered in two locations, women and men separately, to pray and express their gratitude for the court's humanitarian perspective on their plight.[5]
    • The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7, with the top court asking the Government of Uttarakhand and the railways to find a "practical" way out as decade-long residents of the area had claimed land through leases and purchases from auction after migrations in 1947.[6]


    Left narrative

    This is but the latest in a series of eviction and demolition schemes happening across India. These actions target so-called "illegal" sites that have been around for decades, operating legally and within the full view of the government until it no longer benefits leaders. Human beings who have lives and attachments to the locations are uprooted simply because they're seen as poor and disposable.

    Right narrative

    This case went on for six years in the Uttarakhand High Court, which ordered the illegal encroachments into government lands belonging to the utility to be removed peacefully. Yet, the Islamist-Leftist-Liberal faction keeps trying to depict the administration as the villain by turning a legitimate eviction drive into a human rights issue. As long as the law applies to all in India — Hindus and Muslims — squatters will never be the victims.

    Political split