Petition, fast to stop eviction of UP riot victims from camps

New Delhi, Jan 4 : A petition was handed over Saturday to the district magistrates of Shamli and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh against the forced eviction of people living in camps after last September's riots left them displaced.

Petitioner Shehzad Poonawalla, a rights activist, not satisfied with the response of officials, also launched an indefinite fast.

"Dismantling of the camps and forcible eviction of their inhabitants, without proper identification and payment of compensation, in this bitter cold, would amount to the grossest form of human rights violations especially for the young children housed in these camps. It would be pertinent to state that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has claimed on record that there was no order to drive the refugee families out of the camps," said petition, addressed to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

"Evictions would also undermine the ability of agencies to provide timely and basic relief to the victims who have lost everything including their livelihoods, and would force them into starvation, poverty and an uncertain future," Poonawalla said.

The district magistrate of Shalmi, P.K. Singh, acknowledged that demands for proper arrangements for the riot-displaced were legitimate, but did not offer any assurance that such arrangements would be made, Poonawalla told IANS.

Poonawalla said he would stay on indefinite fast, as the response of the officials was not encouraging. He said the fast would continue until the government halts all forcible evictions or gives a written assurance that it will rehabilitate the victims in proper, sustainable homes. Residents of the tents in Malakpur in Shamli district have also joined Poonawalla in the fast.

--IANS (Posted on 04-01-2014)

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