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In a Landmark Case, Slum Dwellers in Indonesia Challenge the Eviction Law

According to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, which has been helping evicted families, there were 113 forced evictions last year, with each round typically involving many dwellings

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FILE - A woman walks past a partly demolished houses ahead of an eviction by the government in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 20, 2016. VOA
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October 1, 2016: Slum dwellers in Indonesia have launched a landmark legal case to challenge a decades-old law which has been used to forcibly remove thousands of families, amid a wave of evictions in the country’s capital.

The case comes as authorities ramp up efforts to clear housing along a main river bank in Jakarta, the sprawling capital of 10 million people, to pave the way for an ambitious flood mitigation project.

Local residents have asked the court to declare a law enacted in 1960 as unconstitutional as it “gives the government a great authority to take the land from the people” without due consultation, court documents show.

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“I see more and more people suffering like me. This is wrong, this is inhumane,” said Mansur Daud, who was evicted last year from a slum in west Jakarta to make way for the project.

The 54-year-old hawker launched the legal challenge with two others this week, saying they want justice to be upheld.

FILE - A man inspects his house ahead of an eviction by the government in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 20, 2016. VOA
FILE – A man inspects his house ahead of an eviction by the government in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 20, 2016. VOA

“There was no dialogue, no compensation. I have to live at my parents’ house now, my children were traumatized by the eviction, where is the justice?” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.

The 1960 law prohibits the use of land without permission from the rightful owner, but land rights advocates argue it has long been invoked in favor of the authorities.

Lawyer Alldo Fellix Januardy said the law unfairly targets slum dwellers and the poor who cannot provide proof of land ownership, due to a legacy of unclear and overlapping land titles, as well as bureaucracy in Indonesia.

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However, he said, this was exacerbated by the fact that the law does not require the government to provide the same proof of title when it is used to evict the residents.

“The problem with land evictions in Indonesia is that nobody has a [land ownership] certificate,” said Januardy, who specializes in land rights cases and represents the slum dwellers.

“If nobody has a certificate, then the court should be the one to decide whose land it is but the government never sends cases to court, they just evict people because of this law.

“If we win the case, every forced eviction must be decided through the court before it happens,” the lawyer added.

The Constitutional Court has yet to fix a date to start hearing the case.

The Jakarta city government has defended its move and vowed to push ahead with the evictions despite criticism.

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Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said the project was necessary to prevent annual floods during monsoon season, and alternative housing had been provided to those affected.

According to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, which has been helping evicted families, there were 113 forced evictions last year, with each round typically involving many dwellings. A total of 8,145 families and 6,283 small businesses were affected in 2015, the group said.

Another 325 evictions were set to take place this year, the institute said, citing the government’s planning documents.

The latest round of eviction took place Wednesday, which saw bulldozers demolish a waterfront shanty town in Jakarta. It went without protest, but past evictions have sometimes resulted in violence.

In August last year, security forces fired teargas and water cannon after they clashed with residents while clearing a flood-prone area in the capital, with 27 people arrested. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)