Dharamshala Slum

After 11 days of ‘Dharamsala Slum Demolition’: No sign of shelter for dwellers braving rain, hunger under open sky

The apathy of the district administration and MCD is very disappointing. The right to housing, sanitation, education, water… these are basic rights and the state needs to take the responsibility for the homeless, as its part of their constitutional duty. There are high court judgments on rehabilitation as mandatory before any eviction and we hope that the Apex Court will take note of this

DHARAMSALA- National Eviction Watch Network- an Independent fact finding team from Delhi visited displaced Charan Khad community to investigate the matter after 10 days of demolition of 35-years-old slum  that left about 1,500 people including infants, diseased, and elderly homeless, who are braving monsoon rains under open sky and struggling even to find food.

Also Read: Dharamsala Slum Demolition : 300 families kicked out, left on roads in pre-monsoon rains with absolutely no rehabilitation

Dharamsala Municipal Corporation’s (MCD) inhuman and highly questionable act of demolishing the slum without making any provision for rehabilitation of the dwellers has not only left hundreds homeless but forced about 150 school going children to quit school. MCD went on violating right to life, thus, right to shelter, food, education, health to poverty stricken section of our society.

Also Read: Dharamsala Slum Demolition: Apathetic Mayor & civic body take U-turn on rehabilitation, leave dwellers homeless

While some of these have found rented accommodation with great difficulty, some have fled the state while many are setting up shelter on rented private lands in nearby areas.  On Saturday, June 25, the Charan khad evicted carried out a demonstration and rally at the MCD office and DC office at Dharamsala submitting a memorandum asking for rehabilitation. The affected community representatives and social activists supporting them met the DC again on June 27, Monday. The DC said that the evicted could apply for some housing schemes if they match the eligibility criteria.

Also Read: D’sala Slum Demolition: Now district admin adopts ‘Jungle Raj’, threatens homeless dwellers and activists helping them

 We feel the MCD and district administration should take responsibility for rehabilitation. The Pradhan Mantri Avaas Yojana which is advertised on the MCD website provides for “in-situ” redevelopment of any slum, even if it is on central or state government land. Therefore, calling these people encroachers and evicting them without rehabilitation is questionable,

said Manshi Asher, part of the citizen’s rights group that has been lending solidarity with Charan Khad displaced

Also Read:Homeless for 8 days, Dharamsala slum dwellers hold protest march seeking shelter

The fact finding team members includes Kalyani Menonsen from Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Jawahar Singh and Arvind bhai both housing rights activists working with the Jhuggi Jhopdi Ekta Manch, Delhi and Vikas Yadav from National Alliance Group on Denotified Tribes. The team met the affected community members and took detailed testimonies of the eviction as well as their lives and livelihoods at Dharamsala. The community members informed the team that the MCD had issued instructions that they not be given rented accommodation by the local people or else action would be taken in the matter.

The fact finding team also met the officials of the Municipal Corporation to get their statements in the matter.

The apathy of the district administration and MCD is very disappointing. The right to housing, sanitation, education, water… these are basic rights and the state needs to take the responsibility for the homeless, as its part of their constitutional duty. There are high court judgments on rehabilitation as mandatory before any eviction and we hope that the Apex Court will take note of this

, said Kalyani Menon of the fact finding team.

We will make a detailed report and submit to the State Government, SC-ST Commission, Commission for Denotified tribes and NHRC,

she added.

 We will continue trying to dialogue with the District Administration to ensure that they take responsibility,

said Akshay Jasrotia, Kisan Sabha, Baijnath, one of the local activists supporting the demand for rehabilitation.

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