Samyukta: A Journal of Women’s Studies (July 2014) Vol. XIV. No. 2, 74
SYLVIA KARPAGAM, SIDDHARTH, ISSAC ARUL SELVA
Abstract: This paper draws from first-hand experiences of the authors who volunteered for relief during the forced eviction of the residents of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) housing at Ejipura, Bangalore and analyses the effect of the evictions on health status of the evictee population. The forced evictions constituted a series of violations by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the police, with active support from the local MLA and the private contractor Maverick Holdings. In spite of the fact that many of the families were legally entitled to stay on the land and were living there for well over 10 – 15 years; the forced eviction displaced 1500 families overnight and without warning.
The evictions led to a sudden change in the socio-economic determinants of health – namely housing, livelihood, water, food, sanitation, healthcare and education. This impacted directly on the mental and physical health of several families especially children, elderly and pregnant women. Morbidity levels went up with an increase in malnutrition, gastro-intestinal and respiratory illnesses. With the majority of the community being dalit, Muslim or dalit converts to other religions, the forced evictions also demonstrates an open violation of minority and marginalized community rights.
Keywords: social determinants of health, economically weaker sections, demolitions, forced evictions, dalit women, health impact on women.