Friday, May 14, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Medha Patkar opposes Mumbai slum demolition

Medha Patkar opposes Mumbai slum demolition

IANS, May 14, 2010, 04.59pm IST

MUMBAI: Social activist Medha Patkar on Friday tried to stop the
razing of hutments at Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar here, demanding that the
slum dwellers be first provided alternative accommodation.

Patkar and her supporters dubbed the demolition as anti-Dalit and
vowed to stop it.

"They (Dalits) are the backbone of this city. Their rights should not
be taken away just because they are poor," she said.

She said about 10,000 residents of the area in Mumbai's northeast
suburb had nowhere to go.

More than 1,000 of the nearly 3,000 hutments were razed in the drive
that began on Thursday by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)
and the collector's office.

Patkar said around 40 women were detained by police when they
protested against the demolition.

But the BMC is determined to raze the slum. "This land belongs to the
collectorate and has been encroached upon," said Dhananjay Sawarkar,
the additional suburban collector.

Social activist Simpreet Singh alleged that the authorities did not
issue the mandatory 24-hour eviction notice to residents before
demolishing the hutments. Sawarkar denied this.

The slum houses workers mainly from the unorganised sector.

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