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Over 2 Lakh People 'Forcibly Evicted' in 2021, Around 36,000 Houses Razed: Report

Around 57% of people were displaced due to ‘environmental’ projects, including the protection of riverbeds and the conservation of forests.
Eviction

File Photo.

Delhi: Across India, over 36,480 houses were demolished, and 207,106 people were forcibly evicted by central and state governments in 2021, according to a new report by the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN). Further, nearly 10 lakh people faced displacement in the five years from 2017 to 2021.

However, as many as 59% of these evicted persons did not receive any rehabilitation from the government, the report says.

The report, ‘Forced Evictions in India: 2021’, was released at a press conference in Delhi on WednesdayIt says that nearly 15 million people are currently living under the threat of eviction and displacement across the country.

The report also shows that till July 2022, over 25,800 houses were demolished in the country, affecting 124,450 people.

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The majority of the people, which is 57%, were displaced in 2021 due to ‘Environmental’ projects, including the protection of riverbeds and conservation of forests.

Other reasons behind evictions include slum’ clearance, removal of ‘encroachment’, ‘city beautification', and ‘development’ projects, among others. Infrastructure and development projects resulted in the most number of displacements with 27.13% of affected persons.

As many as 11,432 houses were demolished due to ostensible development projects, resulting in the eviction of 56,190 people. 

The HLRN report also notes that in 2022, another factor or worrying trend” emerged wherein the state demolished homes as a punitive measure. Such actions are a gross violation of human rights laws and standards, and disproportionately affect marginalized communities, the report says. 

The report further shows that in 2021, court orders from the Supreme Court, state High Courts, and the National Green Tribunal led to the eviction of over 1 lakh persons.

Moreover, among all the affected persons, at least 28% of them come from historically marginalised groups, such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, nomadic communities, migrant workers, and religious minorities.

The HLRN noted that there was a grave need for an immediate moratorium on evictions due to any reason. It also advised that it should be ensured that state authorities do not use demolitions against marginal communities as a means of meting out summary punishment. It also demanded the government urgently provide alternative accommodation to all evicted families who have been waiting to be rehabilitated for years.

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