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In a serious turn of events, experts from the United Nations (UN) have urged the Indian government to put a pause on the eviction process of at least one lakh people from Khori village in Haryana's Faridabad.
Alleging human rights violations while evicting people belonging to marginalised groups, especially amid the ongoing pandemic, they asked the authorities to 'urgently review its plans for razing' the village and 'consider regularising the settlement' to ensure no one is harmed or left homeless.
Why Are Residents Being Evicted?
Going ahead with the Supreme Court directive that entailed a six-week deadline ending July 19, the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) started the demolition drive at Khori village to clear encroachments in the Aravali forest area.
More than 2000 police personnel were deployed at the site to maintain law and order. The entry and exit points of the village were barricaded.
Yashpal, the deputy commissioner of Faridabad, told The New Indian Express, "the demolition drive is going on peacefully and there is no resistance from the public; they understand that this is a Supreme Court order."
He also mentioned that before the demolition drive started on Wednesday, July 14, the rehabilitation policy was announced. The plan was to allot the economically weaker sections (EWS) flats at two places.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement on Friday, July 16, which said that the eviction would add to the hardships of 20,000 children, many of whom may remain out of school, and 5,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women.
It asked the government to take notice of the existing crisis faced by the vulnerable group due to the pandemic and reminded them of their principle of eradicating homelessness. The OHCHR also said that the role of the Supreme Court "is to uphold the laws and to interpret them in light of internationally recognised human rights standards, not to undermine them," reported The Hindustan Times.
Further OHCHR indicated the need to urgently review this demolition plan and to make sure no one is evicted without adequate compensation and security of residence.
Lastly, they also pointed out that this directive by the court is not adhering to the Land Acquisition Act 2013.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs has claimed that the UN body has overstepped its powers and did not await MEA's official response before issuing a press release. MEA has also expressed shock at the UN body's disrespectful remarks against the Supreme Court.
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