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The Brahmanwala Khala Demolitions Saga

Why the Uttarakhand High Court must make a suo-motto intervention.

Dr Nitin Pandey


If stealing is a crime, so is buying stolen items. Helping someone to steal is a crime, as is giving shelter to thieves. While the “thieves” have been punished in Brahmanwala by the demolitions, are those who encouraged encroachments & made the encroachers comfortable and possibly “legitimate” by providing electricity and roads, not accountable? No where else in the world can government’s money be utilized to help people encroach government land. Must these culprits not be bought to book?

Having demolished these encroachments, if we now sit back and pat ourselves, it will be akin to congratulating ourselves for filling air in a punctured tube, we will soon be “flat” again; as happened earlier this year in May, when soon after demolitions in the same area, the squatters were back in no time. One must also remember that over 740 acres of Dehradun Municipal Committee land, worth billions, is under illegal occupation. The two main seasonal rivers of Dehradun, Rispana & Bindal, are now virtually shanty towns. Who is accountable for that?

There are two types of encroachers. A genuine few, who are poor, who give their lifetime earnings to middlemen to get a small piece of land in a khala or river bank, and build their shacks in the belief that this is an accepted aberration in the Indian system and these middlemen, who are invariably linked to political leaders, will save them in case law does catch up with them. These are the people who suffer the most in a demolition drive.

A significant percentage of encroachers are however professional squatters. They encroach upon Government land, form “Nirbal Varg Utthan Samitis”, anoint themselves as its President & other office bearers, liaison with local elected representatives on basis of a vote bank, get roads, water, phones & electricity connections installed, (seek their pound of flesh in these too) and then sell their house and move on to another piece of land.

The persons who make most from such encroachments, however, are the government officials & politicians. They encourage encroachments, as they receive a share from the middleman’s loot, they take money to organize roads / electricity / water and telephone connections, get the government to spend money on providing these amenities on encroached land, get a kickback from the contractor who executes these projects and in the end, also land up with an assured vote bank. It is sunshine all the way.

Therefore punishing just the gullible poor people by demolishing their homes is blatantly unfair. The main culprits go scot-free. The politician – middleman – government official nexus must be exposed to prevent future encroachments. The only way it can happen is if the Uttarakhand High Court takes a suo-motto action and appoints a sitting judge to investigate the entire sequence of events by which Brahmanwala Khala was encroached upon. Persons responsible for spending government money in the area must be made to pay it back from their own account. Officials sanctioning electricity and water connections and laying of the road must be prosecuted. Expecting any politician to order such an enquiry would be delusional. The Honourable Court must step in.

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From: Do you have more great arcielts like this one?
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