On 10 February, the Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to incite a comprehensive scheme to locate and rehabilitate the migrant workers, whose homes were demolished by Bengaluru police earlier in January during an eviction drive. Reportedly, it was triggered by unverified police claim that workers living on private property were illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar was dealing with a petition filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on behalf of the affected migrant workers which challenged the recent forceful eviction of thousands of migrant workers near Marathahalli in Bangalore. The court directed the state government to either provide monetary assistance or temporary accommodation to such persons as interim relief and further gave the state government one month to do so.
“It is the responsibility of the state to ascertain the whereabouts of the affected persons and rehabilitate them,” stated the bench.
The court also pointed out that nothing had been placed on record to show that these migrant workers were ‘illegal Bangladeshi immigrants’ and held that prima facie concluded that a large number of people were evicted ‘without following the due process of law.’
Subsequently, the court directed the counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Maitreyi Krishnan, to assist the affected persons in filing representations with the Deputy Collector of the District so that the interim benefits can be made available to them.
Earlier in January, the Karnataka High Court had passed an interim stay on the demolition drive purportedly conducted by civic body BBMP and the Bengaluru Police.
The next hearing of the matter has been scheduled for 26 February.