The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Saturday razed around 400 houses at Kariyammana Agrahara near Bellandur because all of these settlements were deemed to be 'encroachment.'
The action by BBMP has rendered over 1,500 people homeless as earth digging equipment moved in and demolished tin-roofed houses to the ground. There was much tension in the area for some time as the residents protested stating that they had been staying in the area for over eight years and no prior notices were issued by the civic agency about the demolition. Most of the residents were outsiders working as maids, drivers, waste pickers and security guards and hailed from Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal.
"They should have told us in advance about the demolition drive, but they did not. They just threw everything out of the house, demolished it and went away. Where do we take refuge in this cold?" the residents asked. The homeless included school-going children and senior citizens.
BBMP officials maintained that the settlement was in the proximity of the lake and was a violation of the buffer zone regulations. "We have been reprimanded by the court for not cracking down against buffer zone violations. We are doing our duty. Moreover, the rains are likely to intensify and we do not want encroachments to flood the locality," an official said.