Forced Eviction Of Slum-Dwellers From City Opposed

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly condemns the caning and arrest of slum-dwellers from various parts of the city when they were protesting in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) against official steps at forced eviction.

Residents of various slums have been protesting eviction threats they are being subjected to since several months. In places like Indiranagar there is near total opposition to the GVMC’s proposal to relocate them at Bakkannapalem on the city outskirts. The demand of the slum dwellers that amenities in their area be improved and they be allowed to reside in Indiranagar itself is totally justified.

Official GVMC policy shows an utter contempt for the human rights of the urban poor. Bulldozing the poor and ejecting them outside the city is a subversion of the right to adequate housing, shelter and livelihood. All of these encompass the right to life under Article 21 of our Constitution which the Apex court has elaborated on several occasions. Instead of improving existing slums and meeting the basic housing needs of hundreds of thousands of the poor, official policy is exhibiting complete disregard for the terrible consequences that the marginalised face due to forced eviction. This amounts to an assault on their fundamental human rights as well as various international obligations.

Instead of a democratic and poor-friendly policy, the GVMC is adopting arbitrary and brutal measures against slum-dwellers in the city. It reflects a belief that the poor do not have a right to any space within the city. It is a shame that those who provide the city critical services have themselves little access to clean water, toilets, health care, schools and other essential public services in their settlements. They are sought to be driven to the periphery, often to even more precarious living conditions.

HRF demands that the government stop these inhuman policies of forced eviction and to strive sincerely to honour the right to adequate housing and human rights of the urban poor.

VS Krishna
HRF State general secretary


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