Supreme Court to Decide Fate of 50,000 Residents in Uttarakhand Facing Eviction

Supreme court of india is set to decide on thursday whether thousands of people in the northern state of uttarakhand will be evicted from their homes. the legal battle began after a public interest litigation on illegal mining in the area was filed in 2013. government officials have alleged that the residents have encroached on land that belongs to indian railways.
on 20 december, a two-judge bench of the high court had asked the railways to “use the forces to any extent determining upon need” to evict the “unauthorised occupants” after giving them a week’s notice. from 1 january, the residents started getting eviction notices. the residents live in neighbourhoods situated on a 2km-strip (1.24 miles) of land near uttarakhand’s haldwani railway station.

High court had asked railway authorities to clear the land after giving a week’s notice to occupants. hundreds of people – including women and children – have been protesting for days against the order. the state is currently experiencing a cold wave, with the minimum temperature hovering around the 1c mark. some residents have said they are being harassed without cause and asked how schools and hospitals could have operated in the area without permission.

Senior official has said that the indian railways has “old maps, a 1959 notification, revenue records from 1971, and the results of” a 2017 survey to prove their claim. the indian express newspaper reported that from 1 january, the residents started getting eviction notices. media reports say around 50,000 people will be left homeless if the supreme court decides to uphold the high court’s order. the state’s chief minister has said that his government will follow whatever the supreme court decides.

By Evey Lovelace

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