On June 7th 2021, the Supreme Court of India directed Faridabad Municipal Corporation to clear the entire Housing Board Society of Khori Gaon because it was on the forest land. Additionally, the court denied any rehabilitation facility to the poor families living in those settlements, blatantly disregarding the existing pandemic situations which instantly resulted in 1,00,000+ refugees. Most of the residents living here are working class migrants – who are already affected severely by the pandemic. Various high end hotel complexes exist right next to the Khori settlements and there has been illegal mining going on for years in the hills, yet they face no threats from the authorities, while marginalized communities are selectively being targeted. In the name of 'forest conservation', the Haryana Government is evicting 1,00,000+ people from Khori Gaon WITHOUT rehabilitation. Is this what environmental justice means?
We demand rehabilitation for the people being evicted from Khori Gaon during this pandemic whose livelihood is under siege by a single court order. Today, prominent Human Rights groups, Environmental Justice groups, and other organizations came together to mobilize people to demand rehabilitation for the slum dwellers who are being evicted. The solidarity was shown by mobilizing on twitter through a tweetstorm.
At it's peak the tweetstorm reached Trending #8 in India. With over 8k tweets with the tagline INDIA STANDS WITH KHORI - the movement showed that the residents of Khori are not ALONE in their fight for rehabilitation.
We hope this issue of eviction and demolition without rehabilitation is now paid closer attention to in the media, now and in the future. We also hope that climate action and environmental conservation continue to stress even more on the aspect of 'justice for all'. We must make our movements more intersectional and understand that ecology is not separate from humans and social structures such as caste, class, and gender.
"It's important to note that environmental justice includes working towards ecological conservation as well as towards tackling social inequalities. Our environmentalism cannot come at the cost of further oppressing marginalized communities," said Pratik Kumar and PB Sashaankh, from the Yugma Network.
This campaign would not have been possible without the solidarity and immense energy & time of various organizations like Yugma Network, Youth For Swaraj, Save Dumna, Let India Breathe, Youth for Climate, Climate Front India, NAPM, Human Rights Law Network and various other organisations and concerned citizens from across the country.
The movement is demanding a structured mechanism for rehabilitation of people before evicting them from Khori, and to provide for transit camps during the eviction. To end, we reiterate our demands to:
1) Rehabilitate the 1 lakh+ poor people being evicted from Khori in the Aravallis.
2) Provide transit camps to evicted families during the rehabilitation.
3) Treat EVERYONE with dignity and stop oppressing the poor and marginalized communities.