Many families were pushed to the streets in Bellandur, a suburb in Bengaluru, on Sunday after the city police along with the municipal corporation demolished their makeshift houses. The police claimed the tenants were “illegal Bangladeshi migrants” and that the land owner had been sent an eviction notice. Activists, however, said those residing in the area hailed from various parts of Karnataka, northern and north-eastern parts of the country and worked as domestic helpers, construction workers and security guards in Bengaluru.
Condemning the drive by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the police, advocate and activist Vinay Sreenivasa said, “More than 200 makeshift houses were demolished by the police in Kariyammana Agrahara on Sunday. Men who came in plain clothes to conduct the demolition drive said they were Marathahalli police providing protection to BBMP officials. However, there were no BBMP officials present near the site.”
“When we asked the reason behind the move, they said they are getting it done because the people here are illegal Bangladeshis. They stopped the demolition only when we asked them to produce the order directing them to do so. If the people staying in these makeshift houses are Bangladeshis, they need to identify them first and then take action. Why do they have to demolish all the houses,” he added.
The BBMP and the police refused to comment on the drive.
On January 11, Marathahalli Police Station inspector issued a notice to landowner Chethan Babu for the eviction in Kariyammana Agrahara. In the letter, the police referred to social media posts and viral videos across social media which claimed there was an illegal Bangladeshi settlement in Bellandur. “Get them vacated by demolishing the sheds,” the notice read.
“People living in these sheds are from this country only, there are people from North Karnataka, North India, and North East India. All the people have their documents, but since we were issued a notice by the police, we evicted them,” Chethan Babu said.
Meanwhile, residents of the area alleged that they were forced to leave their houses without any information. “We are Indians, we have documents. Police arrived without any prior notice and demolished our houses here. Many people living here are from Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, and North Karnataka,” one Kumar Das said.
Few people have taken shelter under illegally constructed sheds located in Kariyammana Agrahara of Bellanduru which is within the jurisdiction of our Mahadevapura Assembly constituency. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/WjvmWlSE55
— Aravind Limbavali (@ArvindLBJP) January 12, 2020
On January 12, Mahadevapura BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali had tweeted that immigrants from Bangladesh had settled in the locality.
“Few people have taken shelter under illegally constructed sheds located in Kariyammana Agrahara of Bellanduru which is within the jurisdiction of our Mahadevapura Assembly constituency. Illegal activities were taking place in those Sheds and the environment was spoiled without cleanliness, hence the area was a site of illegal activity,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.
“This was brought to my notice through social media. The concerned authorities were instructed to take action against it. Officials are reviewing and taking action. Residents from other areas have settled here, some of them are suspected to be illegal immigrants of Bangladesh,” he added.