Kathmandu: The landless squatters residing in Bagmati Riverside at Thapathali in Kathmandu protested today, stating that the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) tried to remove them forcefully and without any alternative.
A team of police and dozer reached the settlement for removal on Monday noon. An encounter ensued between Metropolis police landless squatters which led to chaos in Thapathali area for around 4 and a half hour.
The landless squatters had been asked in the notice to leave their settlement within 10 days, according to the KMC. The protesting landless squatters chanted slogan against the KMC mayor Balendra Shah. Some burned down tyres while some pelted stones on the police.
Ismita Acharya, one among the landless squatters residing long in this settlement, said, “Are you trying to remove us from here? We do not want to live in the terror of dozer. If the KMC comes up with an alternative, we are ready to leave this place.”
There are altogether 136 houses in this settlement. According to her, they had been trying to hold talks with Mayor Balendra Shah but to no avail. “And this is how they used security force today,” she whined. Ratna Bahadur Shrestha, 65, has been residing in the settlement for 17 years. The elderly man was keeping busy getting his household goods out. He shared, “I was at work. The moment I came to learn about the dozer coming to our settlement, I hurriedly came to take my goods out. An early release was granted to my school-going grandson from his school to leave this place.”
Shrestha, who is originally from Sarlahi, said that he does not have any piece of land in his name. He ranted that the politicians would visit his settlement and gave only hallow promises.
KMC spokesperson Nabin Manandhar shared that the KMC was assisting the High-Powered Committee for the Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization.
According to him, the KMC has been supporting the drive of removing landless squatters residing alongside the Bagmati River for the Bagmati Clean-Up campaign. The KMC had given the landless squatters to leave the place by November 20 but the residents had been adamant, according to the KMC.
“We had given them 10 days of time to leave the place. They did not. Hence we went there today though we can’t remove the settlements today,” Spokesperson Manandhar said. Metropolis police apart, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force’s personnel were also deployed after an encounter occurred between the residents in the settlements and the metropolis police.