Uttrakhand: Covering 29 acres of railway land in Banbhoolpura, there are 4,365 families
The Uttarakhand High Court’s judgement asking the authorities to evict the “unauthorised Muslim residents” of the railway land next to Haldwani Railway Station, known as Gaffur Basti, a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood, has sparked protests from hundreds of Muslim households in Uttarakhand.
The order has been challenged in the Supreme Court, and the apex court will hear the plea on January 5.
Last Monday, the Uttarakhand High Court ruled that “constructions over encroached railway land at Banbhoolpura in Haldwani” must be demolished. Justices Sharad Sharma and RC Khulbe, sitting on a divisional bench, ordered that the settlers be given one week’s notice before the buildings were torn down.
According to Nainital district officials, covering 29 acres of railway land in Banbhoolpura, there are mosques, schools, commercial buildings, and homes. Around 4,365 families, the majority of which are Muslim, will be impacted by the High Court’s ruling .4,365 encroachments will be cleared from the region. Some locals have lived there for decades and have protested the court ruling.
The homes and other buildings built on the 2.2 kilometres of railway land have allegedly already started to be demolished, according to railway officials. “About ten days ago, the High Court ordered all encroachments on Haldwani’s railway property to be removed. There are 4,365 encroachments, and tomorrow (Sunday), we will serve notice through local media. We would take action after the seven days have passed for the tenants to leave, said Rajendra Singh, Railway PRO, Izzat Nagar.
The residents’ side of the story was not heard from the railways. Therefore they should also be allowed to be heard, it was argued during the hearing in this case on their behalf. The railways countered that notices had been sent to each family by the PP ACT. The state government opposed that the railways were the rightful owners of this land, not the state government.
WHY IS NATIONAL MEDIA NOT COVERING THIS.
Close to 4500 families in #Haldwani on the verge of being Homeless in the name of railway encroachment,
Thousands of people including women and children hit the streets to register their peaceful protest against the High court order. pic.twitter.com/uCwCYeFzgh
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) December 30, 2022
The state administration claimed during the court that it had no say regarding the property owned by the railways. The railways further stated that no invader could present legal documentation to claim the above-mentioned territory. In a lawsuit that lasted for almost ten years, the court decided to favour railways after hearing from all the parties.
Read more: SC says Note Ban was valid
On Thursday, joint teams of railway and revenue authorities carried out a drone survey of the encroached territory by the court’s directive. Despite objections from the locals, they began delineating the encroached regions.
— Sana Ejaz (@SanaEjaz_) January 2, 2023
Earlier last week, many locals protested by marching by candlelight. They claimed they would become homeless due to the demolition drive. Many of the occupants were born in the very same houses that are currently expected to be demolished in the following 10 days. Some families have been residing in illegal colonies for 40 to 50 years. Around 20 mosques and 9 temples are among the encroachments, according to local reports.
Congress opposed the eviction and charged the state government with presenting a weak legal defence in court and afterwards coming up with justifications.
Meanwhile, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi Slammed the BJP Government over Railway Encroachment.
प्रधानमंत्री @narendramodi इंसानियत की बुनियाद पर उत्तराखंड, हल्द्वानी के लोगों की मदद करनी चाहिये और उन्हें वहां से नहीं निकालना चाहिए। हल्द्वानी के लोगों के सर से छत छिन लेना कौनसी इंसानियत है? – Barrister @asadowaisi #Haldwani https://t.co/2pAvOzktTG
— AIMIM (@aimim_national) January 2, 2023
“The BJP Government of Uttarakhand said this property doesn’t Belong to the state. What kind of encroachment is this? When there are three Enter Colleges and five government schools, is this an encroachment in Haldwani? How did the government open schools and colleges for so many years there?”. Said, Owaisi.