Sunday, June 26, 2016

An example of structural violence: slum demolition and then vengeful pursuit by govt in Dharamshala

Forwarding an email from a friend regarding demolition of slums in Dharamshala. Pay special attention to points 4 and 5. 

It would be far more honest if the government simply lined up all the 1500 people (esp the aged, disabled, women and children) and summarily executed them. But they have outsourced that job to brutal circumstances (which will obviously claim the aged, disabled, women and children first). This is Structural violence 101 : the end result is the same but the people causing the carnage get to conveniently avoid any accountability.

I'm sure most well-educated middle class people around us will keep supporting these things till the day comes when someone they love has to suffer the same. Or perhaps even then they'll say it's their only fault for being lazy and not productive or enterprising enough to get rich and earn the protection of the state (which as per Constitution and UN Charter was supposed be an inalienable right, but hey who cares about that?). Though how one can expect a person to be productive in economy when one's home might get razed at any moment, remains an inconvenient mystery. It's also funny how we keep telling people "don't carry the baggage of the past", but for the children of slum dwellers we keep judging what they deserve on the basis of the presumed laziness or crimes of their parents. Perhaps there's some pain here to be opened up and addressed that might help resolve things, perhaps some nonviolent communication exercises could help. And if you're looking for different ways of doing things, I suggest reading this.

-- Forwarded message ---

Dear Friends,

Please see below, we need you support to phone, SMS the authorities regarding the illegal demolition of Slums in Dharamshala

We need to get the DC, JC and SP to get phone calls and SMS from outside asking why the illegal eviction took place and asking the administration to take responsibility and respond to the demand for rehabilitation immediately.
Numbers of the DC (Ritesh Chauhan) 01892-222103(O),  JC (S.K Chaudhari (9418456640) also send SMS

  • Some points that can be mentioned
  • Please mention that the Demolition is Unconstitutional and illegal.
  • That the residents of the slum are on the road and at the mercy of weather
  • That they need to rehabilitate and give some relief to the residents.
  • That this is violation of right to shelter under the constitution

Slum Demolition at Charan Khad

  1. The MCD (Municipal Corporation Dharamsala) forcefully evicted the 35 year old Charan Khad Slum with 1500 people (more than 300 families) from Dharamsala (see copies of both eviction orders attached) on 16 and 17th June '16)
  2. That the MCD provided no rehabilitation and just dumped the occupants across villages, forests and roadsides around Dharamsala. That some people sat on common lands, some on lands rented by locals and others rented out rooms while many were roaming the streets - children, women, old, disabled spending nights hungry in the rain.
  3. In many places locals shunted out the occupants and threatened to burn their belongings
  4. That the MCD issued a press note on 21st June stating that any one who provided accommodation would be liable for action by the MCD and that they would evict the occupants under section 278 of the HP Municipal Act
  5. Following this people were thrown out of rented accommodations
  6. They now have nowhere to go - most of the people's children are studying in government schools in Dharamsala
  7. We met the Joint Commissioner (S.K Chaudhari) MCD yesterday who has issued the eviction orders and he refused to take any responsibility for his actions or respond to the demand for rehabilitation
  8. Based on the above circumstances the settlers have no choice but to struggle for their right to housing/shelter.

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