On September 10, 2017, local leaders of the Trinamool Congress, along with the police, illegally demolished a slum settlement with 22 families next to the Subhas Sarovar in Kolkata.
The slums were demolished for a beautification drive under the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) for the FIFA U17 World Cup, the final of which was held in Kolkatas Salt Lake Stadium on October 28, 2017.
After the demolition, students of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NJUS), under the banner of Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), filed a public interest litigation with three slum dwellers at the Calcutta High Court, challenging the governments decision in August 2017 to evict the slum dwellers. The petition stated that the arbitrary actions of the government amounted to a violation of Articles 14, 19, 21 and 300A of the Constitution. It was also contended that the state authorities were forcing the petitioners and other slum dwellers to evict the area without any notice or rehabilitation scheme in place. Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag granted a stay on the eviction. Meanwhile, the authorities had already begun construction around the area.
On September 11, 2017, advocate Aniruddha Chatterjee, appearing for petitioner Shiv Shankar Ray, who had moved the High Court earlier seeking a stay on the eviction of the families living there, told justice Bag that the demolition of the shanties violated his order issued on August 24s. The High Court ordered the KMDA to relocate all the 22 displaced families in a Kolkata Improvement Trust (KIT) plot near Subhas Sarovar within 24 hours.
The court order came in the wake of the KMDA's proposal to rehabilitate all the affected people. The KMDA, however, steered clear of the eviction attempt the night before.
The families were rehabilitated but their new shelter lacked basic facilities.
The beautification project was undertaken by the West Bengal Tourism Department, along with the KMDA and KIT. The drive was aimed at providing recreational facilities, such as a food court, joggers park and openair theatre. However, the authorities did not take into account the 22 families who had been living in the area for more than a decade.
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Private and Common
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Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)
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Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, West Bengal Tourism Department, Kolkata Improvement Trust
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Students of NUJS (National University of Jurisdical Sciences), Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA)
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Female NUJS students had been threatened with rape and were assaulted alongside other students and slum dwellers. Slum dwellers were harassed by the goons and threatened with police charges against them.
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