Eviction drive leaves dwellers under open sky | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:29 AM, March 16, 2019

Shyamoli Slum

Eviction drive leaves dwellers under open sky

They had a roof over their head just a day ago, but around a hundred residents of Shyamoli slum are now under the open sky, as law enforcers on Thursday demolished around 500 shanties in the area in a daylong drive, defying a High Court order.

Many slum dwellers, who failed to find shelter due to the sudden eviction, are still staying at the site.

 “We tried all daylong but did not find any place to go, even after frantic efforts,” said Mohammad Israfil, 45, who used to run a roadside tea stall in Shyamoli.

He said they do not have any home at their village, nor any relative to live with, for which he along with his wife and two children are staying here.

However, many others who could manage a shelter at their relatives' or village homes left the place after the eviction, selling possessions which they could recover from the rubble.

The 1.25-acre land of Shyamoli No. 2 slum, which had been occupied illegally since 1962, had been cleared on Thursday in the drive, said Imrul Hassan, an executive magistrate of Dhaka District who led the eviction drive.

This land has been allotted to copyright division of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs a few years ago, he added.

Although the magistrate claimed that the slum dwellers were given repeated notices in the last one year, slum dwellers said they did not move their valuables, assuming that the eviction would not take place due to the stay order of HC.

Zakirul Islam, 48, a rickshaw-puller who had been living in the slum for the last 18 years, said he got married at the slum around 12 years back, and was now leaving the place along with his wife to a relative's home in Tangail.

Though Zakir's parents had their own house in Pirgacha of Rangpur, they had to sell it due to poverty, and move to Dhaka, he said.

 “The HC had stayed the eviction drive at the slum following a writ petition filed by Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) on April 9, 2017,” said Advocate Shahinuzzaman, a lawyer of the rights organisation.

“After the period of the stay ended, the HC extended its order for another six months on February 6 this year,” he also said.

“We will inform the court about this eviction,” the lawyer added.

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