The official policy on slums reflects a belief that the urban poor have no right to any space within the city. It is a shame that those who provide critical services to all of us have little access to clean water, toilets, healthcare, schools, and other essential public services in their settlements, State president of the Human Rights Forum S. Jeevan Kumar has said.

Addressing the 4th district conference of the HRF here on Sunday, he dwelt at length on what he called the brazen contempt of the authorities for human rights of urban poor. The poor were being subjected to forced eviction and relocation to outskirts where there were no basic amenities.

“This bulldozing is a subversion of their right to adequate housing, shelter, and livelihood, which are integral to the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, and which the apex court has elaborated on various occasions,” he said.

Instead of including existing slums and meeting basic housing needs of the poor, the housing policy was exhibiting a complete disregard to the terrible consequences the marginalised face due to forced eviction. This was an assault on their fundamental human rights, the human rights activist added.

The other speaker on the occasion, advocate P. Trinadh Rao spoke on the manner in which the adivasis had been historically deprived of their customary land rights and access to forests.

Citing examples, he detailed how the Act 1/70 was being diluted and the Tribal Advisory Council was working for the benefit of non-tribal people.

President of district unit of HRF M. Sarath presided.

A number of civil liberties activists and members of people’s organisations were present.

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