30 huts demolished illegally at Marathahalli

Around 50 armed men were allegedly part of the drive, assaulted residents; three hospitalised

Labourers and migrant workers were again targeted, but this time their homes were not razed by the authorities. A group of 50 armed men, who came with JCB machines, allegedly attacked residents while demolishing 30 dwellings in Survey number 275 at Munnekolala near Marathahalli on Thursday morning.

Three people, including a woman and her six-month-old son, sustained injuries and were admitted to Bowring hospital.

The Marathahalli police, based on a complaint by K. Naveen Kumar, the owner of the plot, rushed to the spot. They arrested 10 persons, seized three JCBs and four bikes belonging to the accused.

At the time of the attack, most of the men who lived in the colony had gone to work.

“Around 9 a.m., a group of 50 men barged into the colony when male residents had left for work. They ransacked 30 huts. The JCB machines started crushing our huts,” said a woman.

Several women, including the caretaker of the property, were allegedly assaulted when they tried to stop the demolition.

“The men did not even allow us to collect our belongings, and beat up some of the residents. They threw a six-month-old baby on the ground,” one resident alleged.

10 people arrested

Passers-by saw the commotion and alerted Naveen Kumar.

According to the police, the demolition was carried out by Sandeep, a resident of Muthsandra, who claims that the land belongs to him.

“We have arrested Sandeep, who is the prime accused in the case along with nine of his associates. They have been charged with unlawful assembly, rioting, criminal trespass and assault. They have been remanded in judicial custody,” said a police officer.

“A legal procedure is to be followed for an eviction drive. Demolishing dwellings illegally is a serious offence,” a senior police officer said.

‘Lost IDs and other documents’

The people who lived in the plot of land said that they were not given time to collect their belongings when the men came with JCBs on Thursday morning.

Kaleemullah, a social activist who works with migrants, estimates that as many as 150 people were rendered homeless.

The accused allegedly threatened to kill the residents and snatched their phones when they tried to call the police.

“We have lost our IDs and other documents, valuables and money,” said some of the affected families.

Zia Nomani, a city-based advocate who is helping the victim, said, “We will approach the Human Rights Commission. The bigger fear among the residents is that many of them have lost documents and IDs, which are mandatory considering the present situation,” he said.

On January 19, authorities razed over 150 dwellings in Kariyammana Agrahara citing the presence of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The police have been knocking on the doors of slums in and around Marathahalli demanding ID proof from residents.

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