Dozens of squatters staged a sit-in on Ferozepur Road on Sunday in a protest against the demolition of their houses on Saturday by district administration to clear the land for construction of a road.
At least 200 houses along Rohi drain in Kahna were demolished on Saturday on a two hours’ notice, Karamat, a daily-wage labourer told The Express Tribune. “We were told the land was needed to construct a road to the new Fruit and Vegetable Market,” Karamat Masih said.
He said the settlement was set up five years ago when they were evicted from a similar illegal settlement in Sabzazar.
“At least 800 people lived in those houses. The government never warned us against living there during the last five years and on Saturday they turned up with bulldozers to evict us. We need compensation,” said Elizabeth, a house wife. She said with the houses flattened their furniture and kitchen wares were lying all over the place along the drain.
Manzoor Ahmed, another squatter, said the settlement had Muslim as well as Christian families. He said most of the squatters were daily-wage labourers whose earnings were not enough to afford monthly rents in legal housing colonies let alone own a house. He said unless the government arranged some land for them they had no option but to set up their tents on state land.