'Rehabilitate Migrants': HC Tells Karnataka Govt Over Demolition Of 'Bangladeshi Immigrants' Homes'
The Karnataka High Court came down heavily on the state government for demolishing sheds of migrant labourers in Bengaluru's Bellandur and directed the state to rehabilitate the affected migrants on Monday, February 10.
The Bengaluru police had demolished sheds of migrant labourers in Kariyammana Agrahara on January 18 and 19 assuming that the occupants were illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The eviction drive has left hundreds of people homeless.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar, HC directed the government to provide relief to those evicted, either through monetary compensation or temporary rehabilitation within two weeks. The court also ordered the government to submit a comprehensive scheme to rehabilitate all those affected within a month.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by the People's Union for Civil Liberties that questioned the demolition and claimed it to be illegal. The petition stated that those evicted were not Bangladeshi immigrants, but were from West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. The plea said that these people were "extremely poor" and migrated from various districts of Karnataka and other states of the country. The petitioner has also submitted a preliminary list of around 130 persons evicted from the land.
During the hearing, the government submitted its report for the suspension of the police inspector who had issued the eviction order on January 11. Based on the government's report, the court concluded that a due process of law was not followed during the eviction to determine whether those evicted were indeed illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Meanwhile, both the state government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) maintained that they did not carry out the demolition. However, the court observed that the photos of the demolition showed the presence of police personnel.
"It is the responsibility of the state to rehabilitate since the right to shelter - a fundamental right - has been violated. We direct the state to come up with a scheme for rehabilitation,'' the court said.
The case is slated to be next heard on February 26, when the state will have to submit its relief plan.