Describing the eviction of people from slums in Nonadanga in the eastern part of the city as a “tragedy and great crime”, human rights activist Binayak Sen Sunday accused the West Bengal government of being inhuman.
“It (eviction) is a great tragedy and a great crime committed. It is really inhumane on the part of the government to displace the people without providing viable alternative and livelihood options,” Sen said.
Describing the slum dwellers as “environmental refugees”, Sen said that people were being punished for no reason.
A number of families of those who have settled at the Nonadanga slums are families rendered homeless by the cyclone Aila in 2010.
“They were able to survive in hostile environment because of access to common resources…displacing them again would be shameful and against the commitment of welfare of the people,” he added.
Eleven people arrested in connection with the violence Saturday were presented in a city court. All of them, including five women, were remanded to police custody till May 3.
The clash broke out between evicted slum dwellers of Nonadanga and police when the protesters tried to dismantle a barricade that was earlier put up at the site.
Alleging that the State government was trying to end their agitation through unfair means, Amitabh Bhattacharya, one of the organising members of the Ucched Pratirodh Committee, an organisation protesting the eviction, said that a section of intellectuals organised a convention on the behest of the government at the protest site during the day.
He said that those present in the convention tried to explain to the people that outsiders were involved in the protest and they should give up their rights.
The area has been tense since March 30 after nearly 130 families were evicted from the slum because of an ongoing project of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.