Day 6 Government Machinery Moves and So Does Party | Negotiations Start
May 25, Mumbai : “Where were you when our homes were demolished ? If you agree with our demand for in-situ development rather than development under SRA then why are you allowing our homes to be demolished” asked the Ganesh Krupa Housing Society residents to Priya Dutta, Congress MP from the area. She visited the society requesting Medha Tai to withdraw her fast, since things could be resolved through dialogue only. Basti residents replied in an emphatic no and narrated their harrowing experience and attempt at dialogue. Medha Patkar said, “on 20th May when the homes were being demolished in Ganesh Krupa society, she was detained on her way to the site of demolition. Why did CM not initiate a dialogue then only ? We have met him two times on these issues on March 23 and then on April 5 but nothing has come out of it and demolitions continue. If there is investigations going on and he needs time then why this hurry for demolition ?”
Meanwhile, Aruna Roy, Member National Advisory Council, also conveyed the demands of the movement to Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson NAC, and President, Indian National Congress. Anna Hazare also talked to the CM Prithvi Raj Chauhan.
Don't Hide Behind the Court Order, Take Action Against the Builder
Simpreet Singh, Convener, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan said, “ government is trying to take cover under the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Bombay High court's decision in the Civil case against Shivalik, but why are they not talking about the Criminal Case. Accepting the allegations of forgery and fraud in submitting documents for seeking SRA sanction, Honourable HC ordered that criminal investigations be initiated against the Shivalik Ventures by the Nirmal Nagar police station based on the FIR by residents of Ganesh Krupa Housing Society on 19.09.10. On March 2nd the residents of Ganesh Krupa Society filed a contempt of Court petition in Bombay High court against Nirmal Nagar Police Station for not proceeding with the investigation, subsequently the Court ordered the Police Station to complete the investigation within 15 days. Then what is stopping the government of Maharashtra from taking action against the Shivalik Builders ?”
Earlier in the morning, Collector along with the senior officials of MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) came with an offer from the CM. They conveyed that Chief Secretary on behalf of Chief Minister will have discussion on the demands of the movement. Even as we write this, a delegation of more than ten people from different bastis along with Medha Patkar and Simpreet Singh are discussing the issues with the Chief Secretary and other officials at the Collector office, with nearly a thousand basti dwellers from across Mumbai camping outside the Collector office.
Today morning Medha Tai was feeling weaker due to vomiting and dysentery yesterday and last night. Today also she vomited a couple of times but her condition is stable. Syed Zuber, who is on the second day of his fast is in good health. Five more members from different Bastis joined today in the relay fast and a number of housing rights organisations YUVA, Shahri Vikas Manch, Pani Haqq Samiti, committee for Rights to Housing and others joined in solidarity fast. India Against Corruption, Mumbai members continued to extend their support to the movement. Sadashiv Amrapurkar, renowned film actor visited the dharna in solidarity and promised to write to the actors association on the issues of the movement and draw their support too. N D Koli and Purnima Meher from the National Fishworkers Forum also joined the dharna today and said, “most of the fishing communities live in these unauthorised or authorised settlements and constantly face demolitions. It is the fight of fishing communities too and we all stand behind this struggle for housing.”
Prabhakar Nagkar of Janta Dal (Secular), Sandeep More of CPI and some members of Republican Party of India also visited the dharna in support of the movement. In addition professors of IIT, representatives of Sadbhavana Sangh, Janhit Manch and many other organisations visited the dharna in solidarity. Khar Vyapari Association in solidarity with the movement downed their shutters for the day today too.
Yesterday, a demonstration infront of the Pune, Solapur and Aurangabad Collectorate was organised in support of the movement here in Mumbai. A candle light vigil has been also organised in Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam and Srikakulam today by the different movement groups. Similar programmes are also reported from other states. On account of 'International Hawkers Day' tomorrow on May 26th across the country National Hawkers Federation is organising programmes on their demands and also joining hands with their comrades who are facing demolitions in Mumbai. Hawkers have been a target of constant eviction all across the country and Medha Patker, working president of the NHF has been instrumental in their struggle for many years now.
Today a group of 33 students and professors from Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK wrote to Chief Minister asking him to consider the legitimate demands of the movement for justice to millions of the working class people living in margin urban settlements in Mumbai. Students and NRIs from USA and other countries have signed the online petition to the CM, PM and Smt. Sonia Gandhi as well.
PS : An update will be issued on the outcomes of the negotiations with the Chief Secretary later in the evening.
Prerna Gaekwad, Santosh Daundkar, Deven Nair, Simpreet Singh
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