[Reader-list] [Announcements] Pushta & NHRC

lalit batra lalitbatra77 at yahoo.co.in
Fri Dec 24 15:14:38 IST 2004

Dear friends,
I am sure you know about the Yamuna Pushta evictions that took place in
Delhi early this year. Following the evictions, the NHRC had carried out
an investigation into conditions at the resettlement colonies of Bawana,
Holabi Kalan and Madanpur Khadar- places where those evicted form Pushta
have been sent.
It's now three months since the investigation was done. But so far the
Commission has not issued any directions in this regard. The investigation
report as we got to know is still to be prepared in a "proper format". 
I feel it's about time we start building pressure all over again. Because
this case can have ramifications far beyond Bawana, Holambi and Khadar.
Scroll down and you’ll find a letter addressed to the NHRC chairperson. It
would really help if you can send the same to the NHRC in your individual/
organisation's name and letterhead.
In solidarity,
Lalit Batra
Hazards' Centre

Sh. A. S. Anand
National Human Rights Commission
Sardar Patel Bhawan
Sansad Marg
New Delhi 110001

December 24, 2004

Subject: Case No 4080/30/2003-2004/UC

Dear Sh. Anand,

The eviction of over 1.5 lakh slum dwellers from Yamuna Pushta will go
down in the history of Delhi as one of the worst humanitarian disasters.
We had filed the aforesaid complaint on February 12, 2004 when the process
of demolishing Yamuna Pushta slums had just started. The NHRC accepted the
complaint on February 16 but no action was taken for over six months. In
the meantime, all the slums from Yamuna Pushta were removed with the use
of unprecedented police brutality and coercion and in a completely
unconstitutional manner. The human rights of over a hundred and fifty
thousand people were trampled upon with impunity by the agencies of the
state. Only about a sixth of those displaced got alternative plots in
resettlement colonies like Bawana, Holambi Kalan and Madan Pur Khadar.
Devoid of even a modicum of basic amenities like water, electricity,
toilets, health and educational services etc., these areas are little more
than barren pieces of land in a wilderness of hopelessness. Furthermore,
relocation to such far-flung areas meant that most of the people either
lost their jobs or their already meagre earnings were reduced to less than
half of what they had before eviction. It is not a co-incidence then that
many people, especially children and aged, have died in these colonies due
to lack of food and water-borne diseases in the past five months.

All this while we kept updating you on the ground situation and urging you
to take immediate action. In this context when we heard (yes, we were not
officially intimated despite being a complainant) that the NHRC has
ordered an investigation on the issues of availability and quality of
basic civic amenities in the resettlement colonies, we heaved a sigh of
relief. The investigation was carried out in Bawana, Holambi Kalan and
Madan Pur Khadar on 3rd, 6th and 8th of September respectively. Activists
of Hazards Centre and Sajha Manch also accompanied the investigation team
led by DSP Mr. Isaac. At that time we were told that the report of the
investigation team would be finalised within 7-8 days and placed before
the NHRC panel within 15 days. 

It’s now three months since the investigation was completed. But still
there are no directions issued by the NHRC on the basis of the
investigation. Meanwhile, the situation in Bawana, Holambi Kalan and Madan
Pur Khadar has only worsened. 

Therefore, we request you to directly take the matter into your hand and
ensure that justice is delivered at the earliest so that the aggrieved
residents of the resettlement colonies can look forward to immediate
relief and justice. After all, justice delayed, as the saying goes, is
justice denied.          

Yours faithfully

Lalit Batra
Hazards Centre


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