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Forced evictions in India violation of human rights: UN official

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) UN Secretary General's Special Representative and Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari today said demolitions and forced evictions in urban and rural India, including the Narmada Valley, were a grave violation of the human rights of the affected people and they must be stopped immediately.

''India is facing a very grave situation.... Demolitions are happening in Delhi and Mumbai and people are being thrown out of their homes in the Narmada valley. If these do not stop immediately they will lead to a conflict,'' Mr Kothari said here.

The UN Special Rapporteur said the Prime Minister must rise above party lines and intervene to save the lives of people from being ''destroyed''.

He said the human right aspect of these drives had completely been neglected and were also violating all International conventions on housing.

''The state and the judiciary are working in gross violation of human rights and the authorities have complete impunity,'' he alleged.

Mr Kothari said the situation arising out of the evictions and demolitions is unprecedented and is like a ''epidemic across the country.

''In Mumbai as well as Delhi the common feature is police brutality while carrying out the demolition and violence against women. The officials who carry out the drives have complete impunity,'' he added.

Mr Kothari also attacked the Government for not fulfilling its ''rehabilitation obligation'' towards the Sardar Sarovar Dam oustees or the demolition affected people in Delhi and Mumbai.

''The government is carrying on with its demolition drives without bothering about the poor. The state has failed to provide housing to them and it is razing what they have built where will the poor go?'' he said.

He said urban and rural India were facing ''apartheid'' as demarcation between poor and the rich had been deliberately made.

''The poor are completely being denied the right to food, education, water and shelter,'' he added.

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