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Uttarakhand: Several protest removal of encroachments on rly land

Haldwani: Thousands of residents of Banbhoolpura area of Uttarakhand’s Haldwani district began a satyagraha on Wednesday to protest the removal of encroachments from railway land in compliance with a high court order.

The Uttarakhand High Court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker, ordered an evacuation of encroached railway land in the Banbhoolpura area after giving notice to the residents one week in advance to vacate it.

Around 29 acres of railway land has been encroached on. Residents were asked on Tuesday to deposit their licensed weapons to the administration before the process of removal of encroachments from the land begins.

The protesters, mostly belonging to Muslim families, said the removal of encroachments will render them homeless and jeopardise the future of their school-going children.

A large number of women, children and the elderly are among those affected by the removal of encroachments.

Thousands of families have been settled in this area for decades. “If our homes are demolished, where will we go with our families in the prevailing cold,” they asked.

“There is this famous Beti Bachao Beto Padao welfare scheme but I don’t think the government is serious about it. If our homes are razed down, our schools our razed down, where will we go? How will we (young girls and women) continue our studies if there is no school?” asked a teenager.

A young protestor sits with his relative

On December 29, thousands of residents took out a candlelight march to register their protest.

Congress MLA from Haldwani, Sumit Hridayesh, and Samajwadi Party in-charge Abdul Matin Siddiqui and general secretary Shoeb Ahmad are backing the protesters.

(With inputs from PTI)

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