The Forest Department has issued a notice for the demolition of Pinki Sonkar’s house in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur. Pinki rose to fame with the 2008 Oscar-winning documentary ‘Smile Pinki’, which was based on her life.
Apart from the Pinki, over 30 people living in her village have been served demolition notices, and the forest officials have described their houses as “illegal possessions”.
Pinki is a resident of Rampur Dhabhi village in Mirzapur district. The land on which Pinki and some other villagers’ houses are constructed, belongs to the forest department, the notice claims.
According to Pinki and her father, Rajendra Sonkar, the villagers were not told that the land belonged to the forest department when the houses were being constructed.
The villagers who received the notice said that the land was offered to them by the forest department officials when Pinki Sonkar’s documentary won an Oscar award.
Anil Pal, the lawyer representing the villagers said, “They did not know what kind of land this was. The foundation of Pinki’s house was dug by the forest officials with an axe, and now they are calling it an illegal possession.”
It was issued on September 21, asking residents to evict their houses by September 26.
However, according to the Mirzapur District Magistrate Priyanka Niranjan, a committee has been formed to look into the demolition notice, and a fair decision will be taken.
“The problem will be solved through a logical and fair solution. No one will be troubled. The revenue and forest departments have been informed about it,” she said.
‘Smile Pinki’, a documentary based on her life, won the documentary (short) category at the Academy Awards or Oscars 2009. It shows Pinki’s journey to getting surgery to cure her cleft lip, with the help of a social worker.