A fact-finding mission of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has collected documents showing that those evicted from the Ejipura colony for economically weaker sections were not encroachers.

Releasing the report titled ‘Governance by Denial’, PUCL member Ramdas Rao said the fresh evidence counters the allegations levelled by N.A. Harris, MLA, that most of those evicted from the colony in January this year were encroachers.

To support their claim, the activists released the copy of a resolution passed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on June 28, 2005 where the civic agency pledged to provide housing to tenants of the original allottees as well.

A copy of the resolution procured by the fact-finding team says that a decision was taken to “evict the residents in view of the dilapidated condition of the present buildings as a precautionary measure and to put [up] the residential complex, allot the same to 1,512 original allottees and by constructing residential complex in the remaining portion and allot by identifying the present residents (tenants).” Following the passage of this resolution, the BBMP had also given the tenants special ID cards identifying them as legitimate claimants to compensatory houses in the same colony.

Another interesting document uncovered by the fact-finding committee is a letter written to the government by R. Ashok on February 3, 2004 when he was the MLA of the Uttarahalli Assembly constituency, of which Ejipura was a part before delimitation. Mr. Ashok said in the letter that the residents of the colony had suffered considerably after the poor quality of construction gave way.

He further said the residents, many of who were not original allottees, have been given ration cards, voters ID as well as other civic benefits and were therefore bonafide occupants of the land.

He adds that these residents were willing to pay a fair price fixed by the government for low-cost tenements in the same colony. “Ironically,” said Arul Selva of the PUCL, “when the same R. Ashok was the Home Minister of the State, he stood back when his police force evicted the residents of Ejipura.”

Pledging to take the matter to its logical conclusion, the PUCL has demanded a judicial probe into the PPP deal between the BBMP and the Maverick Holdings and Investments. The activists also plan to support the evicted residents who are preparing to file a review petition challenging the PPP agreement in the High Court.

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