Identify inmates of huts destroyed in fire, says HC

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to identify inmates of the huts, situated on government land in Sunday Bazaar slum in Kacharakanahalli, which were set on fire by miscreants, and pay compensation besides rehabilitate them.

The court issued the direction after noticing from the report of the Fire and Emergency Services Department that ration kits, clothes and other household items were among the goods burnt in the 55 huts on March 24 and March 30.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy issued the directions while hearing a PIL petition, suo motu initiated by the court based on a letter written by Vaishali Hegde, an advocate.

Meanwhile, in a report on the delay of registering a complaint, jurisdictional assistant commissioner of police has said that on both occasions the police visited the spot but persons on the spot termed it as an accident. However, an FIR was registered on May 1 after an inmate of one of the remaining huts complained that a few people had razed some huts using earth movers on April 30 but he had been hesitant to lodge a complaint then.

It has been alleged in the report that two owners of a nearby choultry, who wanted to use the land for their business and parking of vehicles, with the help of two others conspired to clear the huts when inmates of many of the huts left for their native places in northern Karnataka just before imposition of the lockdown. Three persons have been arrested, the police have stated.

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Sagar Biswas

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