Haldwani protest explained: SC stays eviction, asks for practical solutions

Jan 05, 2023 01:56 PM IST

Congress, Samajwadi Party, AIMIM have come out in support of the Haldwani protests against the planned eviction according to the high court order.

The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a bunch of petitions in connection with the railway land case for which protests have been going on for the past few days and stayed the planned eviction which was scheduled to begin around January 10. The eviction would have resulted in the demolition of houses, schools, temples, banks, mosques etc against which protests have going on. The Haldwani protest became the latest flashpoint between the BJP and the opposition as several opposition leaders have extended their support to the protesters. A parallel has also been drawn between the Haldwani protest and that of Delhi's Shaheen Bagh which was against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2020. On Wednesday, Uttarakhand's former chief minister Harish Rawat held a one-hour silent protest at his home in Dehradun against the planned demolition.

Haldwani protest: Residents have taken to the street protesting the planned demolition of their houses, schools, banks.
Haldwani protest: Residents have taken to the street protesting the planned demolition of their houses, schools, banks.

Here is all you need to know about the Haldwani protest and the planned clearance of the 'railway land'

1. On December 20, 2022, the Uttarakhand high court ordered the removal of the 'encroachment' from the railway land in Haldwani. The order came in a PIL originally filed in 2013.

2. After the court order, the railway authorities carried out a survey of "illegal" structures while the protests went on.

3. 50,000 residents will be affected as the structures in the land came up over decades. The houses have water and electricity connections as well.

4. According to the protesters, the land does not belong to the railways -- which found support from opposition leaders as well. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi asked how all these are illegal encroachments if there are government schools.

5. Congress MLA from Haldwani Sumit Hridayesh said the Railways came up with an imaginary survey and the government did not attempt to protect the interest of the residents in the court.

6. In 2016, the Railways said the illegal encroachment was on 29 acres of land, but now they are claiming 78 acres, residents said.

7. Samajwadi Party sent a delegation to the Haldwani protest site on Wednesday. "How does the land belong to the railway? Whom did it buy it from? People have been living on it for more than 100 years," Moradabad MP ST Hasan leading the delegation said.

8. Residents have been served notice to vacate the site and the eviction drive is likely to begin on January 10.

9. Eight companies of the India Reserve Battalion and the Provincial Armed Constabulary, and 10 companies of the Railway Protection Force will soon be deployed in Haldwani, the administration said.

10. The BJP is opposing the protest and said a Hindu-Muslim colour has been given. "Unfortunate that an entire ecosystem is at work to paint a High Court ordered eviction drive in Haldwani into an 'anti-muslim' agenda. What's worse is that this is being fanned by Cong & S.P. Is this 'Bharat Jodo' @RahulGandhi and @yadavakhilesh?" BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said.

(With inputs from Amit Bathla, agencies)

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