My father – with land inheritance and more than 30 years of working in a professional sector – couldn’t afford a piece of land in Delhi and around, what option do the vulnerable residents like those of Khori Gaon have other than to occupy the most inhabitable land on the fringes of our cities?
By Bhawna Jaimini, Livewire
Read the entire article at LiveWire.
Instead of blaming the residents of Khori Gaon for occupying environmentally-sensitive zones like the Aravallis and branding them as encroachers, the apex court should be enquiring upon the conditions that force people to live in such untenable and unsafe conditions. The residents of Khori Gaon are by no means vile and malicious people who set out to build their homes in the wilderness of Aravallis to destroy the environment. They are systematically marginalised people left with no viable housing options in a city which continues to ‘develop’ using their labour but doesn’t care whether they have a roof over their heads or not.
Not only should the government rehabilitate all the residents of Khori Gaon unconditionally, it needs to bring in adequate measures to fix the hostile and anti-poor housing market which has widened the housing gap instead of simply fixing the shortage.
By ordering the ruthless demolition of Khori Gaon without a proper rehabilitation plan, the Supreme Court of India has legitimised treating the poor of this country as criminals. By rendering one lakh citizens – which includes children, pregnant women and the elderly – homeless in the middle of a global pandemic and raging monsoons, the state and judiciary have acted in extreme apathy. And this apathy and indifference won’t stop with the demolitions at Khori Gaon, but would embolden authorities all across the country to treat poor residents living in informal settlements without land rights as encroachers and displace them without following any due process.