Probe Sought Into Eviction of Families in Hampi

Condemning the State authorities for evicting more than 200 families living opposite the Virupakasha temple in Hampi on July 28, the Hampi Gram Panchayat and a group of NGOs have demanded that the Centre and the State constitute a commission to inquire into the demolition drive and take action against the officers for their ''abuse of power''.
30 August 2011

Addressing the media on Monday, members of the Hampi Gram Panchayat also demanded that the Hampi Bazaar be reinstated.
On July 28 afternoon, citing a High Court order, the deputy commissioner of Bellary issued oral warnings to the families asking them to vacate their shops and homes within 24 hours.
In reality, the High Court had only asked for a status report on July 25 and had not ordered demolition, they said.
They alleged that the district administration started the demolition drive without issuing any notices.
Members of various NGOs, including Friends of Hampi, Sree Sharada Women Welfare Association, Shree Maharshi Valmiki Sangha, Sree Hampi Vijayanagara Guides’ Union, Sree Vijayanagara Auto Drivers’ Union, Citizens’ Rights and Protection Forum, Hampi and Equations, Bangalore, have alleged that the drive had violated human rights.

Other demands include:
- Repeal the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority Act 2002 and scrap the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority and reinstate the powers of the panchayat guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
- Scrap the “undemocratically drafted” Master Plan 2021 and prepare a fresh Master Plan taking into account the opinions, views and aspirations of local people.
- Rehabilitate the families evicted to an appropriate place where their livelihood options will not be adversely affected.
- Set clear guidelines that demarcate the role of all stakeholders involved in the management of the heritage area, so that the processes are participatory, inclusive, democratic and constitutional.
- Unesco must actively and publicly condemn such acts to impress upon local, state and national authorities that World Heritage tags cannot be earned or retained by sacrificing human and democratic processes and respect for the rule of land.