SOLYMONE BLOG

INDIAN'S SLUM DWELLERS LEFT WITHOUT SHELTER

MUMBAI, India - Thousands of Dalits and labourers from Mumbai's slum areas protested peacefully for the sixth day against the demolition of their shanty homes in a north-eastern suburb.
Their indefinite satyagraha (struggle against injustice) opposed the burning and flattening down of more than 1,000 out of a total of 3,000 huts on May 14 at Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar, Mankhurd. The burning was carried out by 250 armed policemen and six bulldozers.
  • Suburban collector, Dhananjay Sawarkar, said the land belonged to the collectorate and that encroachers were living on it.
  • Social activists supporting the slum dwellers said the demolition should have been carried out after providing alternative accommodation to the people who have had to live in the open in the summer heat.
  • In spite of losing their homes and all their meagre belongings, "the people here have started clearing the debris and rebuilding their houses even as demolitions have been stopped," social activist Medha Patkar told Gulf News.
  • She and other activists have joined the people's protest against the demolition which took place even after a stay was obtained from the authorities.
The visit of Member of Parliament Sanjay Patil has also helped. He has apologised to the affected people and gave an assurance to the residents that "whatever mistakes had happened would not be repeated and I would stand by the people until all their rights are realized and guaranteed."
He also told them that a joint meeting between the slum people and activists with Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane and officials would be held on Friday.
  • On Tuesday, thousands of people bid adieu to Shivaji Bhutekar whose death due to electrocution was primarily a consequence of the mayhem caused by the negligence of the Reliance energy company against whom legal action has already begun, said Patkar.
  • The residents also collectively constructed a house for Fatima Chand Khan, a 40-year-old deserted mother with four dependent children.
  • The protest has received support from veteran social activist Mrinal Tai Gore who lamented the fact that slum dwellers were being sidelined by government, builders and bureaucracy.
Source: Gulfnews
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