Slum board officials retreat after stay order copy is shown
There was tension at Jai Bhuvaneshwari slum in Siddapura here on Wednesday morning after police resorted to lathicharge to disperse residents who were opposing the demolition move taken up by the Karnataka State Slum Development Board. As many as 11 persons, including women and children, sustained injuries.
Residents blocked the three entry points to the slum, near the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, as soon as the board officials brought earthmovers for demolishing the buildings.
Some residents even perched themselves on the earthmovers while others laid themselves down in front of the vehicles. As a heated argument ensued, a few protesters tried to immolate themselves after dousing themselves with kerosene, causing anxiety. Those protesting said that the eviction notice that had been issued a week ago was stayed by the High Court of Karnataka three days ago after 57 residents filed a writ petition. The residents also said that the area had been declared slum and though there are 800 houses in the slum, the board’s list has only 515 houses. They said that most of the residents were daily wage workers, autorickshaw drivers, manual unskilled labour, housekeeping employees or domestic workers, and the alternative given by the slum board at Koodlu was far away from their work places. Since children have been admitted to schools nearby the slum, they would be inconvenienced, said the residents, who were backed by volunteers of activists groups.
However, as the situation was turning tense, the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the agitated mob, a police official said and added that over 50 persons have been detained.
The situation calmed down and the slum board officials left the place after advocates representing the residents brought a copy of Wednesday’s stay order issued by the High Court.