ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ecology vs Housing and the Land Rights Movement in Guwahati

Selective state interventions to mitigate natural disasters such as floods, the compulsions under which the urban poor inhabit ecologically marginal lands and in the case of Guwahati, the “encroachments” on wetlands and hills, have set the stage for conflict about housing rights, especially for those without legal land tenure. The “encroachments” of the poor are delegitimised and they become victims of eviction drives while encroachments by the state and the middle- and high-income classes on ecologically vulnerable areas are legitimised. In Guwahati, this has led to a cycle of violence and counter-violence. This paper sets this sequence of events against the historically contested land rights issue in a city with limited habitable land due to its natural ecology.

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