Continuing our efforts for Human Right Commission
Continuing our efforts for Human Rights: –
Charan Khad slum community is a community, which accommodates families from different ethnic backgrounds ranging from Maharashtra, south and north Rajasthan. But we as student representative extend our efforts to keep the community united and one strong entity against the authorities.
The following is our account of how the events turned out to be some times against our favor and some times for it: –
On 30th April: –
The student representative body met Sudhir Sharma (minister of urban development) and got a chance to reemphasize on the three points that we had proposed to the authorities. We also expressed difficulties, Charan Khad community faces in surviving and expressed our concerns that the authorities concerned with evacuation of the community must look in to the matter from an empathetic point of view and come up with a viable solution for us. The minister replied to us confirming that the municipal corporation at the moment does not have a plan but he will look into the matter as much as his capacity allows.
On 4th May: –
People from the municipal corporation came to Charan Khad to ask/harass people to leave as soon as possible. The student body now decided to go to even higher authorities to get our voices heard.
On 5th May: –
The student body along with our advocate from Shimla decided that the authorities are only concerned with evacuating the community; the survival and the conditions of survival are not their concern in the least. The place decided to resettle the community is unfit for living purposes and we couldn’t have emphasis on this point more (follow our previous post).
On 6th May: –
Three from the student representative body+ two Charan Khad representatives went to Shimla (capital of the state) speak to Human Rights Commission. They were good enough to acknowledge our request but were incapable of swift action as the office was without a commissioner. HRC expressed its in ability and asked us to not hope a lot from them, nevertheless they will try as much as they can.
On 7th May: –
It was quite an eventful day as the Chief Minister; Virbadhar Singh was present in the Charan Khad area for the foundation laying ceremony of the government office to be made at the Charan Khad land. We also came to know that a day before two people had come to extract the plan out of Charan Khad people as to what they might do, also asked them to meet the C.M personally.
Few people from the community were able to meet the Cm as soon as he was leaving and gave him a hand written application. He replied by affirming that he will see as to what can be done and keeps their interests in mind.
On 9th May: –
By this time people and students as well were getting anxious as to what would be the fate of the entire case. We also got few messages about friction amongst different ethnic groups, so we organized an orientation sort of programmed for them in the hostel where we could sit and discuss and leave no room for miscommunication. We made a presentation followed by discussions.
Meanwhile we also got a call saying that three officials from the concerned authorities had come to talk to the community people, but were told that most of the people are not at home since it was quite late in the evening and not really an appropriate time for government officials to come on a round. They asked the members (how and whoever present) to accompany them to the office. This was quite a shock as most of the people and most importantly the representatives were in the hostel attending the discussions.
On 10th May: –
The student body went to meet the corporation authorities to get an update on the entire matter. But the corporation officials were their usual selves, not willing to listen to us and bullying us by being rude and assertive. We then went to the Sub District Magistrate and he was quite warm and at least willing to listen but the responses were more or less the same about not being capable of giving the land.( we do not wish that the land be allocated to us but are asking for basic human rights in a suitable place…this point it seemed is getting missed by all officials and we have to emphasize it over and over to get them to understand) the SDM however said that the community would have to leave and if Sarah is not suitable then with in 2 days a new place will be found and allocated but also he can give no assurance or record proof that basic amenities will be provided.
On 11th May: –
2 students from the representative body today left to knock the doors of National Human Rights Commission, Delhi. We arrived the next day and went to NHRC, our application was accepted but they told us to wait for action. They get requests from all over the nation pertaining to various issues and each issue takes it on course according to their experts and most importantly time.
On 12th May: –
One from the student body + representative from Charan Khad accompanied the authority to visit the new site. The place was fit to accommodate only a few families; maximum number could be stretched to 50. We conveyed this to the authorities and they did not pay much heed. Told us those who can come shall get the place others can stay wherever they want, even if it is staying on the road.
What they could not for see was that this would create problems within the community.
On 13th May: –
As we had predicted the same happened, we were aware that different groups will start to quarrel and the unity will fall apart. So we as students began a door-to-door campaign arrangement, where we visited each family and explained to them the intention of the authorities and how they are trying to gain benefits from making the groups fight amongst each other.
We also emphasized that this entire case has to be build and taken forward on the pillars of non- violence, unity, respectfulness to all and has to be lawful.
Around 11a.m few more people the corporation Department came ask and bully people around as to why haven’t they left the place until now.
The student body again drafted a formal letter to explain why the place chosen is not sufficient to fit 200 families and if the entire community is not moved as one then this will lead to the breakdown of the community. We are from the beginning concerned about the wellbeing and settlement for everybody. To choose sides now would not only be foolish but immoral. We see Charan community as one big family, irrespective of which state they come from. While the authorities do not care much about this, they are only concerned with cleansing out people and that too a few, how are we to decide which families will go and which will not? Wouldn’t it is better if the authorities gave us a land where we could live harmoniously with one another?
The chosen site has ample amount of space, it is a barren land with rocks and nothing else. The government is capable of giving us space to accommodate the entire community but we are not sure as to settlement is their intention or breaking down the unity of community which will eventually help them in getting rid of the entire community at large.
After note: we are also trying to visit an elected member of parliament, who is elected from the Kangra District itself. Maybe he can intervene and help us. Until then we will continue our efforts and not give up.
Major national and regional newspapers have also covered us and media houses and more or less the articles are a summary of our requests, petitions, efforts and genuine concerns.