On the morning of the 20th, a group of about 26 from our society headed to the CM’s residence to plead for a stay on the evictions. The Police were somehow ready for us, and even though we waited in the adjoining public gardens, we were all rounded up and put in waiting police vans. The women were taken to Byculla jail, and the men to Arthur Road, on promise of release later in the day.
Meanwhile, Medhatai Patkar arrived at the Chief Minister’s office in the afternoon, but he kept postponing the appointment. The demolition drive was on in our society, and as the CM’s meeting wasn’t about to happen anytime soon, she decided to head towards the basti. The police stopped her midway, and took her in custody at the Kherwadi police station, a few minutes away from Golibar.
A couple of hours of slogan-shouting and media pressure forced them to release her finally. However, by that time, we had lost 15 more houses. Although the demolition was finally stalled in the evening, the unwillingness of the government to address the issue of forced demolitions induced Medhatai Patkar to sit on an indefinite fast for our rights.
Today on the 21st morning, 5 more representatives from different slums across Mumbai showed their support by sitting in on a limited fast. These are our demands:
- Implement Rajiv Aawas Yojna across the slums in Mumbai. This scheme is not biased like the SRA and promises a house to everyone without one.
- Cancel the 3K clause of the SRA which has been implanted in 7 projects across this city. This clause gives entire redevelopment rights for a large slum area to single builder, leading to gross misuse of this power by the builder. Accordingly, also stay the eviction drives in Golibar being carried out by Shivalik Ventures.
- Review the SRA scheme and re-draft a plan which allows self-development by the slum-dwellers.
- Put a stop to the practise of using a cut-off date to decide which slum will receive water-supply.
- Implementation of an unbiased and universal PDS system under the Right To food Act.
Mayank Gandhi from India Against Corruption has pledged his support for our cause. People from other slums across Mumbai are also joining in in our struggle. We appeal to you also to stand up, join us at our society, and help us break the hold of corrupt builders on our lives.