Just like the people in Amchang, the people in Sipajhar were also victims of river erosion. Their earlier generations moved from places like Jonia in Barpeta to escape poverty and river erosion. These people were further tricked into buying government land from the locals of Kuruwa. But there was no investigation on the multiple level of exploitation that these people faced. Merely accusing them of being illegal immigrants somehow provided impunity to those who torched their homes. Not a single person was brought to book for taking law in their own hands. One must ask if these are illegal immigrants, why weren’t they sent to detention camps for gradual deportation?
Just a few days ago, I came across an incident where a group of police officers were ordered to forcibly and without notice remove some street vendors from Laitumkhrah in Shillong. These vendors were not creating any nuisance other than selling their fruits and vegetables to earn their daily wage and to feed their family. It was a very painful moment for me as I watch one of these vendors crying while at the same time trying to reason with these police officers that she has a family to feed.
It is now only a matter of months until the Rio Olympics, an event inevitably wrapped up in the glamour of that most festive of world cities. The reality, however, is rather less glossy. Indeed, behind the fanfare, some of the city’s poorest people, many living in Rio’s notorious favelas, are being uprooted to make way for the games.
A diary of eviction & resettlement of a slum in Pune