A city level campaign of Street Hawkers, Dalits, Human Rights Activists, Social and Progressive Organizations
End our evictions. They are unconstitutional and contrary to the National Street Vendors Policy
Value our contributions to the society. Respect our fundamental rights. We demand legal cover and social security
The past several months, we, the street hawkers of Bangalore, have been the victims of forcible eviction by the BBMP, the police and Muzrai departments who have undertake an aggressive and continuous exercise to ‘clear’ the streets and pavements of Shivajinagar, Jayanagar, Ulsoor and Gandhinagar without giving us any prior notice or allocation of any alternate location for our livelihood (see details in adjoining sheet). Since then we and our families are struggling to survive as we have been left with absolutely no source of income – we are unable to pay the school fees for our children and many have been pulled out of school, our landlords have given us notice as we have not paid our house rent. The reason given for our evictions is apparently that we are impeding flow of traffic and pedestrians or that our presence makes the city ugly.
Street hawkers are an integral part of Bangalore’s daily life and its residents are all beneficiaries of the work of the street hawkers. From the vegetable vendor pushing his cart in localities, to the cobbler, the coconut vendor, the flower seller outside places of worship, the tea seller, the santhes, etc., the general public depend on street hawkers for their daily needs and convenience. In fact it is impossible to imagine Bangalore, or any other city, without its street hawkers.
These illegal actions of the BBMP and the police violate our [street vendors’] fundamental rights enshrined under Article 19(1) (g) and Article 21of the Constitution of India, as well as Article 39(a) of the Constitution of India,.This also represents the failure of the State to fulfil its obligations to guarantee everyone, the right to work, free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment as enshrined under Article 23 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and to take appropriate steps to safeguard this right as derived from Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
These actions of the BBMP are not just illegal and unconstitutional but also contrary to the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009 issued by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. It is pertinent to note that the Policy recognizes street vendors as an integral and legitimate part of the urban retail trade and distribution system. It also recognizes that street vendors provide valuable services to the urban masses while eking out a living through their own enterprise, limited resources and labour. It is also necessary to point out that after the Policy was passed, the Hon’ble Prime Minister has sent a letter to all the Chief Ministers seeking that the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009 be implemented and legislation be enacted taking into account the Model Bill which is part of the Policy to “enable street vendors to ply their trade without harassment”.
Moreover, the BBMP is also in violation of the judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court which has recognized street vending as a fundamental right under the Constitution of this country, and as we should know, fundamental rights cannot be denied to anyone. In fact, the Supreme Court, in Mahrashtra Ekta Hawkers’ Union & Another – Versus-Municipal Corporation, Greater Mumbai & Others, in its order dated 12th February 2007, has observed that any steps taken in regard to Street Vendors should be in consonance with the aims and objects of the National Policy to render some sort of succour to urban street vendors to enable them to earn livelihood through hawking.
In spite of all our efforts to secure our rights to conduct our business fulfilled, the BBMP has not met our demands. We are therefore conducting a protest march on Thursday, Oct 21 , 11am, from Russell Market Chowk to BBMP Head Office to press for our demands: