Around 200 ‘kutcha houses’ were demolished in Kariyammana Agrahara area of Bengaluru on Tuesday, with the authorities claiming that the settlement belonged to ‘illegal Bangladeshis’.
According to a report on News18, the demolition drive had taken place days after BJP MLA Aravind Limbavalli tweeted that he had instructed authorities concerned to take action against "illegal activities" in the "illegally constructed sheds", some of which housed "illegal immigrants of Bangladesh". Limbavali's tweet from January 12 was based on videos doing rounds on social media.
On January 11, police had issued a notice to the owner of the land saying the land had illegal sheds and had housed illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and hence, the place must be cleared and information on any such immigrant be shared with police, reported News18.
News18 reported that the drive has resulted in hundreds becoming homeless. Several volunteers have got together to collate the data of the residents and move court, while a PIL has been filed in the Karnataka High Court against the action that will be heard on Wednesday.
According to a tweet posted by ANI, an affected resident said he was from Tripura, and not Bangladesh.
“I am a resident of Tripura. We were not given notice before the demolition. We are not Bangladeshis. We are poor people, we can't afford to rent 'pucca houses' so we stay here. I have all legal documents, says Md Jahangir Hussain a resident, according to this tweet:
Meanwhile, a blame game broke out, with an assistant engineer of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Narayan Swamy, who was on deputation to BBMP, being sent back to his parent department — Public Works Department. The BBMP has also written to PWD to initiate departmental action against Swamy for razing the shanties, reported News18.
News18 quoted BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar saying, "We have repatriated him to PWD. Suspension order will follow. He is being sent back to his parent department. The circular (letter to police on demolition) was issued without anybody’s knowledge."
"He has acted on his own. Don't know if he had taken anybody's instructions on this. I am speaking to the PWD secretary on suspension. The joint commissioner is investigating the case," Kumar added.
“BBMP officials haven't demolished the houses but an assistant executive engineer of BBMP had given the order. We don't know who had taken up the task. An inquiry is being held at commissioner level,” said M Goutham Kumar, Mayor, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, according to tweet from ANI