The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) has expressed its solidarity and concern for around 200 poor and marginalised families unjustly evicted by the state government in its recent demolition drive at Baina, Vasco.
During the fact-finding visit of CSJP, it was observed that most of the families whose houses have been demolished were residing in this locality for over 30 years and were provided with the basic amenities of water and electricity by the government.
As per the CSJP press release, the families were prevented from getting sufficient time to exhaust all legal options to safeguard their rights and neither any proposals of re-housing options and such other rightful amenities were offered to the affected citizens.
Further it was also seen that in some cases one of the spouses in the family was Goan which again contradicts the public perception created by the government that it was a purely migrant settlement. The women, elderly citizens and children have been the worst victims of such inhuman action of the government, says the CSJP’s executive secretary Fr Savio Fernandes.
Fr Fernandes said that “the poor and marginalised squatters on government land cannot be victimised to settle political scores and open up land for vested commercial interests. It is a matter of shame that Goa which prides itself of being a cultured state in the country and excelling on development parameters does not even possess the basic human decency and compassion when dealing with the poor and migrants. The right to adequate shelter, food and clothing is a universal right and must be respected at all costs.”
The council said that the government has the duty to inform affected people well in advance, to agree with them on a plan for re-housing with secure tenure and provide adequate compensation as well as reparations in the case of forced evictions.
It said the government of Goa must take immediate and specific steps to mitigate the impact arising from this forced eviction of families in Baina by providing them rightful alternative housing including food, health facilities, education and means of subsistence, particularly in the case of women, children, the sick, the elderly and differently-abled citizens.