"We Sleep On Foothpath" Say Those Whose Huts Were Demolished In Bengaluru

Noor Hussain and his family of four sleep in the open. He lost his shack that also served as a tiny shop. "We sleep on the footpath. What else can we do?"

Tiny and basic, the huts that were demolished were homes for many families.

Bengaluru:

The demolition of many huts in the Bellandur area of Bengaluru over the weekend shocked those who were living there - and made the headlines. The demolition, triggered by allegations that many Bangladeshi migrants were living in the area illegally, has been halted after the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP made it clear it has ordered no such action. 

Some of those who lost the places where they were staying have moved in with others in the crowded slum. Others have left the location or the city itself. 

Down on the ground reality is hard. 

Noor Hussain and his family of four sleep in the open. He lost his shack that also served as a tiny shop. "We sleep on the footpath. What else can we do?"

Others have moved on with those living in the tiny huts that survived the weekend's demolitions

Mohammed Riyadh Ul Islam is a 24-year-old from Assam. He has moved in with two other young men from Tripura. He told NDTV, "They demolished my hut so I came here to stay. There were two of them staying here, now there are three of us... The rent is Rs 2,500 per room... I am from Assam. We are all Indians here. The job of the police is to check if there are illegal migrants. Not to demolish houses." 

Right next to the slum is a massive upmarket apartment complex. It is a video shot from here that was tweeted by BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali - claiming the slum was home to illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Some resident say the demolition was too hasty and unfair to those left without a roof. But others are firmly in favour of the removal of the slum. One resident who did not want to be identified told NDTV, "When we tried to check all the documents with them, I don't know exactly how they have all obtained Aadhar cards. And some of them have been personally interviewed. And we got 100 per cent information that these people are none other than illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. We all support any drive to remove the slum."

The vulnerability of the poor in India has been highlighted by this action. Tiny and basic, the huts that were demolished were homes for many families. Many questions remain over the unauthorised demolition of homes here - demolition in which the claim of the presence of illegal migrants made by nearby residents, and backed by a BJP MLA, has played a large part.

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