GURGAON: In its reply to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the state government has denied that the local administration had forcefully evicted people during the Commonwealth Games last year.
The NHRC had asked the Haryana chief secretary to send a reply by August 5 on the basis of a complaint it received from an NGO alleging forced eviction in the run-up to the Games for reasons ranging from construction of infrastructure to `security` and `city beautification`.
It presented evidence in the form of photographs, highlighting the human rights violation and continued sufferings of individuals and families who lost their homes and livelihoods because of the Games.
However in its reply, the government has stated that no such forceful eviction ever took place.
"We have already sent our reply to the NHRC, and we have told them that the allegations are not true since there were no forceful evictions. Also, according to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) estate office, no demolition was carried out," said an official posted in the chief secretary`s office.
The NHRC though said that it is yet to receive a reply. "We have not yet received the reply from the state government. We cannot comment on the issue till we receive it and will decide on the next course of action after we go through their response," said a senior official.
The NGO Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) in its complaint to the NHRC had said that on September 28, 2010, demolitions were carried out in Sectors 52 and 53 that rendered over 30,000 people homeless.
This apart from demolishing a school in which 90 students were enrolled. Most of the people evicted were labourers and domestic workers. The complaint mentioned that all officials found guilty of violating human rights, and of breaching local, national and international law must be tried and prosecuted according to the law.
The issue has already created a rift within the local administration in Gurgaon, with agencies blaming each other. They admit that demolitions were carried out but are not willing to accept the blame.
"We were asked by the police and HUDA to assist in carrying out the demolitions but we are not directly responsible for evicting people," said a MCG official. According to the NGO, they will further pursue the matter.
"We have overwhelming evidence about the demolitions and violation of human rights. We will ask NHRC to appoint a special rapporteur to further investigate the matter and examine the evidence we have with us," said HLRN executive director, Miloon Kothari.