Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Freedom India

Demolitions as a form of punishment: HLRN

Report on forced evictions in 2021 sheds light on a pattern of institutional abuse

Sabrangindia 23 Sep 2022

Forced EvictionImage: http://mitdisplacement.org


The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has released its latest report on forced evictions, and it reveals how demolitions have become a part of institutional violence against religious minorities, indigenous people and dissidents.  

According to the report titled Forced Evictions in India 2021, “In 2021, information collected by Housing and Land Rights Network reveals that government authorities at both the central and state levels demolished over 36,480 homes, thereby evicting over 207,100 (2.07 lakh) people from their homes across urban and rural India.”

The report also includes some figures from 2022 and says, “Preliminary research from January to July 2022 also reveals that state authorities across the country have already demolished over 25,800 homes affecting at least 124,450 people.” The report clarifies that the figures in the report are conservative estimates based on “secondary data, partner organizations, and its own reach in the areas,” and says, “The actual number of people evicted/ displaced across India in 2021 and 2022 is likely to be much higher.”

It further says, “All the evictions and demolitions have been carried out by government agencies professedly to “clear encroachments” and remove “illegal structures” from public land. However, the state authorities have used this reasoning to arbitrarily select and demolish settlements.”

Demolitions as punishment

Shedding light on the spate of demolitions that followed incidents of communal violence, the report says, “Following the communal violence during the celebrations for the Hindu festivals of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti in April 2022 in Madhya Pradesh, 16 houses and 29 shops of Muslim households were demolished in Khargone district, including a house built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Housing for All) Scheme.”

It further says, “Statements from government officials and ministers indicated the intention of using demolitions as punishment against those who were viewed by the state as participating in the communal clashes.”

The report also mentions similar incidents from Khambat and Himmatnagar in Gujarat, and Jahangirpuri in Delhi. In the case of the Jahangirpuri demolitions, the report points out, “The demolition drive began early in the morning without adequate notice and continued despite an order from the Supreme Court later in the morning to maintain the status quo.”

The report then goes on to mention the Prayagraj and Saharanpur demolitions and says that the authorities “demolished homes of Muslim families allegedly to remove ‘encroachments’ in the backdrop of protests by the Muslim community against controversial religious remarks.” It highlights, “Notices of demolitions were served to those found accused in protests leading to communal tensions.”

Demolitions during Covid pandemic

Taking note of how demolition drives were carried out even amidst the raging Covid-19 pandemic, the report says, “In 2021, state authorities continued to demolish homes even at a time when the raging virus wrecked people’s lives, livelihoods and health.” It goes on to highlight the plight of evicted low-income families who were deprived of shelter and therefore protection from disease and other elements of nature. It said that “the loss of homes and personal belongings during demolition drives further exacerbated their harsh living conditions and their vulnerability to contracting the virus.”

What are the official reasons for demolition?

HLRN has identified five broad reasons officially cited by authorities to carry out demolitions. While, the largest number i.e 57 percent of evictions were due to environmental projects, wildlife conservation and forest protection, infrastructure projects that have caused eviction of 27.13 percent of the people. Meanwhile, slum clearance, anti-encroachment, city beautification account for the eviction of 14.31 percent of affected persons, and disaster management accounts for 1.63 percent of affected people and other reasons including military operations and conflict only account for 0.14 percent.

With respect to demolition carried out due to environmental projects, wildlife conservation and forest protection, the report says, “In many of these instances, the evictions were carried out under the orders of the judiciary and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) deepening the artificial conflict between human rights and rights of the environment.”

It also points out, “While demolitions were carried out purportedly for the conservation of environment and forests, it is unfortunate that they result in the eviction of local communities, who live harmoniously with nature and contribute to its conservation and sustainable development.”

Impact on marginalised communities

According to the report, “Primary research by HLRN reveals that of the total 158 cases of eviction documented in the year 2021, in 44 incidents (28 percent) the people affected belong to marginalized groups including Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, nomadic communities, migrant workers, and Muslims, including in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.”

The complete report may be read here: 

 

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

Evolution of Bulldozer Injustice

Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”

Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions

Demolitions as a form of punishment: HLRN

Report on forced evictions in 2021 sheds light on a pattern of institutional abuse

Forced EvictionImage: http://mitdisplacement.org


The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has released its latest report on forced evictions, and it reveals how demolitions have become a part of institutional violence against religious minorities, indigenous people and dissidents.  

According to the report titled Forced Evictions in India 2021, “In 2021, information collected by Housing and Land Rights Network reveals that government authorities at both the central and state levels demolished over 36,480 homes, thereby evicting over 207,100 (2.07 lakh) people from their homes across urban and rural India.”

The report also includes some figures from 2022 and says, “Preliminary research from January to July 2022 also reveals that state authorities across the country have already demolished over 25,800 homes affecting at least 124,450 people.” The report clarifies that the figures in the report are conservative estimates based on “secondary data, partner organizations, and its own reach in the areas,” and says, “The actual number of people evicted/ displaced across India in 2021 and 2022 is likely to be much higher.”

It further says, “All the evictions and demolitions have been carried out by government agencies professedly to “clear encroachments” and remove “illegal structures” from public land. However, the state authorities have used this reasoning to arbitrarily select and demolish settlements.”

Demolitions as punishment

Shedding light on the spate of demolitions that followed incidents of communal violence, the report says, “Following the communal violence during the celebrations for the Hindu festivals of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti in April 2022 in Madhya Pradesh, 16 houses and 29 shops of Muslim households were demolished in Khargone district, including a house built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Housing for All) Scheme.”

It further says, “Statements from government officials and ministers indicated the intention of using demolitions as punishment against those who were viewed by the state as participating in the communal clashes.”

The report also mentions similar incidents from Khambat and Himmatnagar in Gujarat, and Jahangirpuri in Delhi. In the case of the Jahangirpuri demolitions, the report points out, “The demolition drive began early in the morning without adequate notice and continued despite an order from the Supreme Court later in the morning to maintain the status quo.”

The report then goes on to mention the Prayagraj and Saharanpur demolitions and says that the authorities “demolished homes of Muslim families allegedly to remove ‘encroachments’ in the backdrop of protests by the Muslim community against controversial religious remarks.” It highlights, “Notices of demolitions were served to those found accused in protests leading to communal tensions.”

Demolitions during Covid pandemic

Taking note of how demolition drives were carried out even amidst the raging Covid-19 pandemic, the report says, “In 2021, state authorities continued to demolish homes even at a time when the raging virus wrecked people’s lives, livelihoods and health.” It goes on to highlight the plight of evicted low-income families who were deprived of shelter and therefore protection from disease and other elements of nature. It said that “the loss of homes and personal belongings during demolition drives further exacerbated their harsh living conditions and their vulnerability to contracting the virus.”

What are the official reasons for demolition?

HLRN has identified five broad reasons officially cited by authorities to carry out demolitions. While, the largest number i.e 57 percent of evictions were due to environmental projects, wildlife conservation and forest protection, infrastructure projects that have caused eviction of 27.13 percent of the people. Meanwhile, slum clearance, anti-encroachment, city beautification account for the eviction of 14.31 percent of affected persons, and disaster management accounts for 1.63 percent of affected people and other reasons including military operations and conflict only account for 0.14 percent.

With respect to demolition carried out due to environmental projects, wildlife conservation and forest protection, the report says, “In many of these instances, the evictions were carried out under the orders of the judiciary and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) deepening the artificial conflict between human rights and rights of the environment.”

It also points out, “While demolitions were carried out purportedly for the conservation of environment and forests, it is unfortunate that they result in the eviction of local communities, who live harmoniously with nature and contribute to its conservation and sustainable development.”

Impact on marginalised communities

According to the report, “Primary research by HLRN reveals that of the total 158 cases of eviction documented in the year 2021, in 44 incidents (28 percent) the people affected belong to marginalized groups including Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, nomadic communities, migrant workers, and Muslims, including in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.”

The complete report may be read here: 

 

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

Evolution of Bulldozer Injustice

Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”

Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions

Related Articles

Communalism

How Hate has laced the Gujarat 2022 Election Campaign

From the Assam chief minister, Himanta Biswas Sarma to his UP counterpart, Ajay Bisht a la Adityanath and actor Paresh Rawal, the actor, hate speech is clearly the BJP’s preferred campaign weapon; speeches are likely to worsen after the first phase

Communalism

How Hate has laced the Gujarat 2022 Election Campaign

From the Assam chief minister, Himanta Biswas Sarma to his UP counterpart, Ajay Bisht a la Adityanath and actor Paresh Rawal, the actor, hate speech is clearly the BJP’s preferred campaign weapon; speeches are likely to worsen after the first phase


Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Communalism

Hate Speech is rampant while Free speech is criminalised | Teesta Setalvad

Eminent speakers like Justice Anjana Prakash, Saba Naqvi expressed grave concerns over the draconian laws, used to put down the struggles of the labouring masses and the manner in which the law enforcement have been taking down students, academicians, political and human rights activists, artists, Dalits, Muslims and tribal people.

Communalism

Hate Speech is rampant while Free speech is criminalised | Teesta Setalvad

Eminent speakers like Justice Anjana Prakash, Saba Naqvi expressed grave concerns over the draconian laws, used to put down the struggles of the labouring masses and the manner in which the law enforcement have been taking down students, academicians, political and human rights activists, artists, Dalits, Muslims and tribal people.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives