Mumbai slum dwellers gherao MPCC President: Struggle continues

As the indefinite Satyagraha of thousands of Mumbai’s anguished, albeit resilient poor completed one whole week today, a group of slum dwellers from Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar gheraoed Shri. Kripa Shankar Singh, President of the Mumbai Congress Committee at Kurla, where he had come to inspect the progress of Mithi River cleaning. The slum dwellers challenged the indefensible silence of the Congress Party over the gross violation of their legal and human rights. Read more

When Mr. Singh was questioned as to why, till date, none of the representatives of the Congress Party had visited the slum area, he assured that he would personally visit the demolition site tomorrow. Tougher questions await Mr. Singh tomorrow from all the people.

Expressing solidarity with the struggle, Ulka Mahajan from Anti-SEZ Movement, Raigad visited the dharna site today and lamented the fact that farmers and labourers from villages are being displaced and forced to migrate to urban areas, where they are being further bulldozed and evicted. It is in this context a moot question arises as to “Where should these lakhs of working class people, who contribute to the nation’s progress go?”

It is notable that Member of Parliament, Shri. Sanjay Dina Patil, again visited the dharna site today and reiterated his support to the demand and struggle of slum dwellers. The Andolan has also received support from Major General (Retd.) Shri S.G. Vombatkere (NAPM-Karnataka) who wrote strong letters to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and the Chief Minister asserting that human rights and social justice must always be a non-negotiable part of the political processes of governance. Vombatkereji’s statement that that ‘the timing is especially cruel and devilish because it is the height of the summer and these people, especially children and the aged, are out in the open, while we watch cricket matches on TV in our comfortable homes”, should make ‘Urban India’ think and re-think on how much it contributes to the plight of the toiling masses and how honestly it stands by the poor when in such times of distress.

Branding the ruthless demolition and burning of the hutments in Sathenagar as “assault on the Constitution and human life”, veteran lawyer and human rights activist from Dhule Shri Nirmalkumar Suryavanshi assert that ‘every citizen has right to stay on 'Indian Soil’ and no government or political party can date violate this right. Senior labour and women’s rights activist D. Gabriele from Tamil Nadu also conveyed the message of solidarity from the thousands of slum-dwellers in Chennai whose are facing the brunt of evictions as their Mumbai counter-parts in the name of ‘urban renewal’, but are also
posing a major challenge to the State through their organized strength. News has also come that a solidarity dharna, morcha and public meeting was organized in the cities of Pune and Aurangabad today, support of the slum dwellers.

Shramdaan began at Sathenagar today with all the people coming together in a spirit of camaraderie to re-build their ravaged houses. For the last 3 days, medical services are being provided by the medical staff of Apnalaya and Tath organisations. Further, the issue to loss of educational material of the school
going children is also being taken up by the Andolan.

Siraj Ahmed, Sumit Wajale, Sushila Patel, Medha Patkar

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