The land on which their huts were built was auctioned by the government to a private real estate agent in 2007

In an overnight operation that started on Monday, bulldozers hired by the Revenue Department razed dozens of huts at a slum in Gottigere area near Bannerghatta on orders of the High Court.

Tension prevailed in the area as activists and those evicted staged a protest. Even as the bulldozers tore down the huts, there was panic in the adjoining neighbourhood which is inhabited by people belonging to the middle and upper middle class. These houses too are marked for demolition but have been spared for now.

The land in question, measuring eight acres and 36 guntas, was government “gomala’ (pasture) land. In 2007, the land was auctioned to Yousuf Sharief of Hill Land Properties.

Some of the evicted slum dwellers such as Lakshmi (32) claim that they have been living in this area for generations. Others such as daily wage labourer Venkatesh (28) claim that they were encouraged to construct huts by local MLA A. Krishnappa.

Those in the middle-class neighbourhood, such as businessman Abdul Taiyyab (45) claimed that they were duped by real estate agents who fabricated documents and sold them the plots in Gottigere.

“We have B-Khatas and have paid taxes since 2002. We had no clue that this was government land when we purchased it from real estate agents,” said N. Rajashekhar (38) a marketing executive who owns a 1,200 square feet plot.

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