4000 families- mostly Muslims, schools, mosques face eviction from railway land in Uttarakhandtext_fields
New Delhi: In the 29 acres of railway land in Haldwani which has been directed to be vacated by the Uttarakhand High Court accommodates over 4000 houses, four government schools, 11 private schools, a bank, two overhead water tanks, 10 mosques, and four temples, besides shops.
The Supreme Court will hear the pleas against the High Court order on Thursday. The residents of the houses built on the occupied land continue to protest besides knocking on the doors of influential to spare the area from demolition.
People living in the area face a deadline from the District administration which asked them to remove their possession by January 9 in line with the High Court order. The said land covers a stretch of 2 km near the Haldwani railway station that includes Gafoor Basti, Dholak Basti and Indira Nagar, in Banbhulpura area.
Amid protests from residents, the District administration officials held an on-ground inspection. The protesters were said to have held a congregational prayer, 'Ijtemai dua', at a local mosque in the area in the hope of a favourable decision from the Supreme Court.
It was after activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s mentioning of the matter before the Supreme Court, a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices SA Nazeer and PS Narasimha decided to hear it on Thursday.
The opposition parties, and activists echoed the concerns of residents who are facing an eviction, blaming the BJP government for the action against an area where Muslims constitute a majority.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat held an hour-long 'maun vrat' (vow of silence) at his home in the state capital Dehradun. "Uttarakhand is a spiritual state," he said, "If 50,000 people including children, pregnant women, old men and women are forced to vacate their homes and come out on roads, then it would be a very sad sight."
Taking part in the protest against the eviction, senior Congress leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat held an hour-long 'maun vrat' (vow of silence) at his home in the state capital Dehradun.
“If 50,000 people including children, pregnant women, old men and women are forced to vacate their homes and come out on roads, then it would be a very sad sight,” he said.
He also dedicated a ‘vow of silence’ to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, who is said to have not reacted to the protest. Meanwhile, the police and civil servants seemed to have prepared to carry out the High Court order.
Residents have been questioning the timing and intent of the railways.
"I am here today and might not be around tomorrow; it's my children and grandchildren that I am worried about," said 70-year-old Khairunisa, one of the protesters, to The Indian Express, "Where will they go if our house is demolished? Did the railways wake up only after houses, schools and hospitals were built on this land?"
District Magistrate Dheeraj S Garbyal said, "People stay here on railway land. They have to be removed. Our preparations are going on for this. We have demanded force. We'll remove them soon."