The Congress has thanked the Supreme Court for staying the directions of Uttarakhand High Court regarding the removal of encroachments from 29 acres of railway land in Haldwani.
The move has brought relief to thousands of people facing the imminent threat of demolition of their houses in winter.
The apex court on Thursday stayed the high court order after observing it to be a "human issue", saying 50,000 people cannot be uprooted overnight.
"Following the HC order in Haldwani, Railways sent notices to around 4,400 families regarding the land encroachment. Senior Congress leader and advocate Salman Khurshid ji raised this matter in the Supreme Court," the party said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Now the SC has put a stay on the order of the High Court and said -- this is a humanitarian matter. Thanks to the Supreme Court," it added.
Taking to the microblogging site, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, "Thanks to the Supreme Court -- in Haldwani the houses of the poor were saved from being destroyed." "The Congress party, especially in Uttarakhand, fought this battle vigorously -- in the court. Salman Khurshid ji kept the hope of justice alive by presenting their side firmly," she added.
The railway has identified 4,365 families who it says have encroached on its land. The occupants held protests at Haldwani asserting themselves to be the rightful owners.
Nearly 50,000 people, a majority of them Muslims, belonging to more than 4,000 families lived on the disputed land.
Observing that many of the occupants have claimed they have been residing there for more than 50 years, a bench of Justice S K Kaul and A S Oka noted there is a "human angle" to the problem and the authorities have to find a "practical way out".
The apex court issued notices to the railways and the Uttarakhand government, seeking their responses to a batch of pleas challenging the high court order for the removal of encroachments.
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