|Photo credit: Joe Athialy|
'One man demolition army', G R Khairnar, who took cudgels against the land mafia and the builder lobby as then Deputy Commissioner (Special – Demolitions) between 2000 - 02 today joined Ghar Bhachao Ghar Banao Andolan's ongoing dharna in Ganesh Krupa Society, amidst the debris of broken houses by government authorities in collusion with Builder Lobby. He said, "the fight today led by Medha Patkar and this movement is an important fight. What he did as someone being in the authority is now being taken up by 'people's power'. This struggle needs support and everyone needs to join hand in this." Even as people lent support and they resolved to fight for their rights demolitions continued in Powai, Mankhurd, Worli, and a couple of other places.
The resolve to fight was joined by other people's organisations who visited the dharna and gave their solidarity messages and also sang songs of struggle against corruption and injustice. Republican Panthers, Ekveera Sez Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, Tata Dharan Grast Sangharsh Samiti, farmers from Malegaon, Chemical Mazdoor Sabha, Shramik Janta Sangh, India Against Corruption, Brihan Mumbai Niwas Abhiyan Samiti, SUCI, Lok Jagran Manch, Brihanmumbai Nivara Abhiyan Samiti, and may others. The dharna has become a meeting ground for many of the anti corruption activists not only from India Against Corruption, whose 15 members sat all day but also anti corruption activists like Bhagwan Das Ryani, Sharad Gayakwad and others.
Earlier in the day Deputy's Collector's office sent doctors and his representative requesting Medha ji to call off her fast, but Medha ji refused to be attended by them. Yesterday, the doctors who came to attend to her were the same ones who tried to influence people injured in the earlier demolitions on behalf of the Shivalik Builders. She is weak but her condition has been mostly stable today and continued to boost the morale of the people.
12 people arrested on May 19, released on bail
It brought cheer to the people present at the dharna site as they heard that the twelve of their comrades who were arrested while resisting demolition on May 19th are going to join them late in the evening after being released from the Arthur Road jail with the determination to save their houses at any cost.
Domestic Workers and Hawkers along with Anna Hazare and Swami Agnivesh join in support in Delhi
Anna Hazare, Swami Agnivesh, Arvind Kejriwal etc were at the Delhi Dharna in front of Maharshtra Sadan along with more than hundred others representing: NAPM, National Domestic Workers Union, Delhi Solidarity Group, Shahari Gharelu Kaamgar Union, SUCI, PUCL and others. On the request of Anna Hazare and Swami Agnivesh, Shri. Bhupendera Singh Rawat, National Convener, NAPM who was to start a solidarity hunger strike in Delhi, postponed it, subject to action from the state government. Anna Hazare said that he is in touch with Prithviraj Chauhan and Medha Patkar and is trying to resolve the issue. He added that he is concerned about the health of Medha ji and would like this situation to end soon. Swami Agnivesh, Arvind Kejariwal and others including Sunita Rani, Anita Kapoor, BS Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, N D Pancholi, Vimalbhai, Preeti Sampat, Seela M Mahapatra, Jawahar lent their support to the ongoing struggle in Mumbai against evictions.
Aurangabad too Joins in
Aurangabad Social Forum, a coalition of different progressive organisations joined the struggled against evictions and demolitions in Mumbai today at 11 am and submitted a memorandum to the Divisional Commissioner. Similar to the eviction at Golibar region Mumbai, a large scale eviction of the poor inhabitants on the riverfront of Kham river has been started by the district administration and the Municipal Corporation at Aurangabad. This brutal eviction too was condemned by the gathering and they decided to continue their fight against the evictions.
Apart from Delhi and Aurangabad, demonstartions were also held in Thrissur and Calicut. Similar events are being planned in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and other places. Supporters have also started an online petition addressed to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prime Minister and Smt. Sonia Gandhi, President INC. International support is also being mobilised and emails are being sent to the CM demanding for putting a moratorium to all demolitions until an independent enquiry is held in to the 3k clause related projects and SRA is completely reviewed.
Even as we write this, a citizens delegation is trying to meet the Chief Minister, Shri Prithvi Raj Chavan.
Prerna Gaekwad, Santosh Daundkar, Deven Nair, Simpreet Singh
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand
Wikio News, Africa