On the 30th of January, Shivalik Ventures(the builder) organised a protest rally and meeting against Medha Patkar in which, according to their press release, 4000 families participated. In truth, there were not more than 400 people, police and security men included. They were protesting her interference in the redevelopment project on at Golibar, alleging that the builder has not been able to construct rehabilitation accommodation for the 4000 families in transit camps because a mere 100 in Ganesh Krupa society do not want to vacate their land. We wonder why he is not starting construction on all the land that he has already flattened.
A huge stage was constructed at Sangharsh Maidaan, the same place where last week, the police attacked a group of peaceful protesters from our Ganesh Krupa society and subsequently demolished 21 houses illegally. The ‘protesters’ were wearing badges that identified which society they belonged to. One woman from Shastri Nagar said she had no idea why she was here and had joined the protest because her society committee asked her to. Another believed that she was protesting the fact that residents of Ganesh Krupa were asking for the rest of the slums in Golibar to be demolished as well. Most of us stayed away from the venue, instead choosing to have an all-religion prayer meeting inside the society.
Meanwhile, that evening, the children staged a re-enactment of the Jan 20th police attack and demolition for an amused audience. A little Medhatai in a white saree was dragged off by ‘women police officers’ among shrieks of laughter as a little Rokade (Deputy Collector) announced that he had High Court orders. The demolisher even wore a yellow hardhat that the real MHADA officials had left behind on the 20th. At the end of the performance, Inspector Bagade was pulled out by the audience for a mock-bashing. By the end of the evening, spirits had been restored by the Andolan’s newest members and we’re ready to continue our fight for justice!