NEW DELHI – The Karnataka High Court pulled up Bengaluru Police, for demolishing makeshift homes of laborers at Marathhalli subdivision in Bellandur in January and asked the government to rehabilitate the victims .
While the court asked the police to state evidence basis which the conclusion was drawn that the inhabitants of the makeshift homes were Bangladeshi nationals, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka asked the police, “By looking at the face of a person, can one be identified as being a Bangladeshi national?”.
Several people were rendered homeless as the police demolished the makeshift homes after evicting the residents, in a demolition drive on January 12, 18 and 19. A plea was hence filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties challenging these demolitions. The petition claimed that many residents in the migrant settlement were from Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has stated that the demolition was unauthorized while it acted upon the police direction.
The Court, on February 10, has hence directed that the inhabitants of the homes be rehabilitated and has directed the government to submit a comprehensive rehabilitation scheme to that regard.
The counsel for Karnataka state government submitted that the Marathahalli station police inspector B P Girish has been suspended for providing false information that led to the incident (demolition). The residents of the sheds have been identified as migrants from Assam and Telangana.” Hence, this incident has brought to light the misinformation being spread by Bengaluru police time and again that there are many illegal Bangladeshis living in Karnataka.
The Bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar also ordered the state to provide either monetary assistance or temporary accommodation to such persons as interim relief. The court further asked the state to also ascertain the people who were affected by this haphazard and unwarranted demolition drive and then proceed with rehabilitation.
The bench also held BBMP responsible for rendering the laborers homeless, for acting without proper instructions and authorization. The bench held that the fundamental rights of the laborers had been violated. “Along with the Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner, find out what arrangements can be made to rehabilitate them. Submit a detailed project report within a month,” the bench said, adjourning the case for further hearing on February 26.
Last time the court had reprimanded the police and the government when prominent personalities like Ramchandra Guha were detained by the police for holding a peaceful protest.