NewsHow did the Supreme Court start housing planning for Dhaka’s poor?

May 29, 2022

Opinion: The Daily Star

On August 20, 1999, over 5,000 slum dwellers mobilised from various informal settlements in Dhaka and gathered in the Supreme Court premises to protest the “wholesale eviction” that was underway that year. The government had launched the Ghore Fera programme, a scheme to support reverse migration to villages. With Ghore Fera underway, the government decided to clear the slums altogether. Dwellers rallied and raised slogans against evictions and demanded resettlement with dignity. At least 1,500 dwellers camped in the Supreme Court premises for the next six days. In the Supreme Court, the judges were deciding on what has come to be known as a landmark case on Bangladesh’s informal settlements, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) and Ors vs the Government of Bangladesh and Ors (1999) 19 BLD 488—hereafter, ASK v BD (1999). Under pressure, the judges halted the eviction and recognised the slum dwellers’ right to protection from evictions without resettlement. The verdict was a win for organised dwellers…

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