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Illegal huts razed: Is Bengaluru’s BBMP targeted for clearing encroachments on Bellandur lake?

With complaints pouring in about illegal Bangladeshi immigrants residing in Bengaluru in and around Bellandur lake area, multiplied by complaints of illegal encroachments, the BBMP razed 300 huts on Sunday

Illegal huts razed Is Bengalurus BBMP targeted for clearing encroachments on Bellandur lake
Bengaluru, First Published Jan 22, 2020, 3:46 PM IST

Bengaluru: To keep Bellandur lake free from encroachments and with many residents in and around Bellandur and Varthur complaining about illegal Bangladeshi immigrants residing near the lakebed in Bengaluru by putting up sheds, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) razed over 200 shanty homes.

 BBMP assistant executive engineer had said that he has sent a letter to the jurisdictional police regarding the same and on Sunday morning, the demolition was carried out.

 An officer from DCP's office said since there is a protocol to provide protection to the civic agency whenever they carry out such activities, the police were only following such rules. "As per orders, we gave them protection during the demolition drive," said a police officer.

 However, the BBMP, which followed the order from National Green Tribunal (NGT) and is working towards ensuring the safety of lake is being criticised for clearing encroachments.

The arrest of over 30 Bangladeshis living illegally in Bengaluru is another eye opener. With a large number of illegal immigrants moving down south, there is a major cause for concern with many, who have been found to be involved in terror acts too, as declared by the police.

Bhaskar Rao, the commissioner of police, said to Asianet Newsable, "Benguluru is now a huge international destination. The city is providing ample opportunities just like how Mumbai was in the 1970s and 80s. People come in search of jobs. And migrants come in without papers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, and even Bangaladesh in search of employment. And they pose a security threat. Some turn out to be sympathisers of different causes working against the interest of this country. Not just Bengaluru, but the governments at the Centre and state are aware of this issue. The problem is getting bigger. And it calls for lot of policy analysis. Today, the international border has shifted to your room for one can't know who the enemy is. And challenges become tough."

Ever since the demolition, there has been a massive uproar in the media about the action taken to save the lake. Several media houses have given the BBMP negative press for the act and has spun it in favour of those who lived on these illegal encroachments.

The pressure put on the BBMP by certain media to take action against the AEE who ordered the demolition seems to have worked to an extent.

The question now is, however, did the BBMP personnel order a demolition without any reason to put his job at risk? Clearly, this was a decision taken with an intention to clear the encroachment.

The BBMP, probably due to the pressures of media, has been forced into conceding that the demolition was carried out on private property. However, there is contention that these so-called private lands are ones which were not allowed by law to have any type of construction. Landowners in collaboration with officials have somehow managed to encroach and construct.

Sources in the BBMP have told Asianet Newsable that the fact that BBMP was involved in an eviction drive on private land suggests the role of land mafia, for eviction orders can only come from the court.

Though certain sections of the media have chosen to side with the ones who are affected, there are these questions that need to be addressed.

Has the civic body been cornered by pressure or is something else afoot?

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