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Awas Haq Satyagrahis Asserting Housing Right under Continuous Rains
Maharashtra Government Indifferent of the Valid Demands of the Homeless
Youth Wing Emerges from the Satyagrah
Mumbai | 13th June, 2015: Thousands of Awas Haq Satyagrahis comprising of women-men with their children including the aged braving nights under continuous rains. Angry agitators carried out a rally crying ‘‘Where is our MLA?’’ by demonstrating their constituency legislative assembly member, Mr. Abu Asim Azmi’s (Samajwadi Party) edifice. While on the other hand, the youth participating in the Satyagrah formed a youth wing called, Mandala Yuva Manch to take forward their struggle and also to facilitate in the smooth working of the struggle.
At the beginning of the Satyagrah, the agitators pledged to stand by their demand of housing right come what may in their way. The same is being proved true by the peaceful agitators who are braving rainy nights on the vacant lying land they had occupied on 26th May, where they used to live earlier. A makeshift 90×40 feet tarpaulin tent is not big enough to accommodate all the Satyagrahis asserting for their housing right.
It was the 19th day of the Awas Haq Satyagrah today yet no response received from the administration to the evictees of the Mandala who have been struggling for their housing right since last 11 years. Shamim Akhtar, one of the evicted of the Mandala, was born and brought up in Mumbai whose parents own a land but is living homeless since 2004 who had build her house in 1998 in Mandala after her marriage.
The concerned youth who are actively participating in the Awas Haq Satyagrah today formed a youth wing called Mandala Yuva Manch (Mandala Youth Front). This youth wing have taken the responsibilities of carrying forward the message of their Satyagrah in different part of the city, building of toilets for agitating women and helping the Satyagrah by all possible means and ways. These youth hails from Mandala evicted families.
The evicted families of the Mandala have been struggling since last 11 years for their rights whose houses were demolished in 2004/05 demolition drive evicting 5,000 families without any rehabilitation plan for them. Through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, they began their struggle to assert their housing right. A total of 3,200 families submitted the proposal to Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to avail housing under Basic Service to Urban Poor (BSUP) but the proposal was not accepted. Later they submitted the same proposal for housing under Rajiv Awas Yojna, where the evictees were given assurance of making Mandala the Pilot project of Rajiv Awas Yojna. But unfortunately the RAY has also been shelved by the present central government which is a clear case of betrayal to the evictees who have been living with the assurance given by the central and the state government to give housing right under different housing schemes since 6 years.
On 26th of May, the evicted families of the Mandala launched Awas Haq Satyagrah through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan led by social activist Medha Patkar to assert their housing right on the vacant lying Mandala land on which they used to live earlier. On approaching the Mumbai Collector, Mr. Shekhar Channe twice, the evicted have witnessed insensitivity in him towards them who are homeless since 11 years and yet the Collector has no plan for housing for these large number of homeless, . The Housing Minister of Maharashtra could only give assurance to housing right by 2022, which was immediately rejected by the evicted Mandala families. But the Satyagrahis have resolute to continue and intensify their struggle until they get their housing right.
Anwari Sushila Upadhyaya Pramila Choudhry Nasrin
Mukesh Jaiswar Shriram Rajbhar Girish Mishra Umar Shaikh