Developers vs. Slumdwellers in Bombay

Press release from the National Alliance of People’s Movements and the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (the Movement to protect homes and build homes)

For Immediate Release                                                   24th June, 2011

NAPM condemns brazen attacks on slum activists and residents

Struggle to intensify: Thousands to challenge Builder-Raj and Goonda-Raj

Emboldened with the absolutely immoral and unjustifiable decision of the Maharashtra Government, the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary to withdraw the decision constituting two committees to enquire in to the slum rehabilitation frauds, the builders are attacking the activist slum dwellers in Mumbai. Those who have exposed massive corruption and scam, and shown courage to fight the legal and non-violent battle till the agitation with 9 days fast by Medha Patkar and 1200 others on relay fast, are targetted by the musclemen of the builder’s lobby, which has a share vested interest, along with the political class and protected by the police administration.

After the first attack on Sandip Yevale and Ashok, the second one took place at the gates of the building of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) itself. The 25 strong group of those associated with Satyen Tandan, the builders who have been trying to bully the Sikh and other families in Guru Nanak Nagar where RTI documents to all attempts to discover the fraud have shown results, attacked 75 years old and other residents with iron rods. Gurinder Singh Saini (65) received serious head injury requiring 9 stitches, Harbans Singh Parmar (60+) was dragged with his hair and others including Meher Singh (65+), Gurudayal Singh (75+) etc. were also injured. While they were immediately admitted, the serious, violent and fatal attackers were only taken in custody and kept seated at the police station till next evening and were released out on bail.

The residents of Golibar know this is one more discriminatory and repressive act unlike the 7 days judicial custody imposed on the innocent old and young women and men who merely opposed the police force in a peaceful way from entering into the pucca houses and demolishing them. “The statement recorded by the police was also said to have been ‘lost’ and the behaviour of the police at local station was absolutely partial”, said  Simran, who is leading the women in Guru Nanak Nagar and was witness to the incident. The real culprit Shivaji Patil, one of the Directors of the Builder firm, their advocate and Mr. Raj who were at the scene and participated are not even arrested yet !

Ghar Bacaho Ghar Banao Andolan has reported and warned the Home Minister and has demanded immediate action against the known criminals. It is obvious that such brutality is taking the worst form and scale due to the Government’s decision to reverse the assured path of enquiry into builder’s illegalities. GBGB, NAPM and thousands of slum dwellers and middle class residents with supporters from all walks of life are to take the fight ahead against this corruption and criminalization by profiteering private developers.

Santosh Daundkar               Madhuresh Kumar             Faiza             Medha Patkar  (09821943920)                      (09818905316)                       (09820683281)

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