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Medha Patkar Back in the Awas Haq Satyagrah
Struggle for Housing Right to Intensify
Mumbai | 9th June, 2015: Adding to the high spirit of the Awas Haq Satyagarhis, veteran social activist Medha Patkar joined the struggle for housing right which was launched as Awas Haq Satyagrah by Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan led by herself. This struggle started after rising discontent among the evictees of Mandala joined by the other slum dwellers from different bastis to assert their housing right and demand basic amenities. Aam Aadmi Party, Mumbai also offered active support throughout the struggle.
Evictees of the Mandala, which was demolished in 2004 inhabited by 5000 families decided to recapture the Mandala land where they used to live before. On 26th May, 2015 thousands of Mandala evictees launched theAwas Haq Satyagrah led by Ms. Patkar through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan to rebuild their houses again. Impressed by the active participation of women in Satyagrah going on since last 15 days, Ms. Patkar announced that the Mandala which was going to be built soon would be developed from larger women’s perspective. Condemning the Builder Raj she commented that ‘’Development touching sky is not required but the one which is attached to the ground. A development will be done what was once envisioned by Gandhi and Ambedkar but not by Chhagan Bhujbal’’.
Aam Aadmi Party, Mumbai also offered support to the Satyagarha and promised to remain committed until the goals of the Satyagrah are met. Party’s Mumbai leader Mayank Gandhi also visited the Satyagrah,yesterday, to express his solidarity to the struggle. Land rights activist Ulka Mahajan also offered support. AAP’s Mayank Jain, highlighted the present demolition of declared slum going on in Mumbai in the name of conserving Mangroves on forest land while allowing big structures to develop on forest land.
A delegation of Satyagragis met Housing Minister, Mr. Prakash Mehta, the previous day. Mr. Mehta directed the Collector to present the survey of the original families of the Mandala evictees and assured that he would consider rehabilitating these families as per NDA government’s scheme of giving houses to all by 2022. However, the Satyagarhis demanded immediate rehabilitation given the long trodden struggle of 11 years for housing right.
Nation-wide struggle and valid demand for housing right will lead to intense struggle in days to come. TheSatyagrahis gearing up for intensifying the struggle. They carry out the cleanliness drive on two times a day. The Satyagarh site has become an earning spot for hawkers selling, Cucumber, Vada Pav Bhajjiyas etc.
Nasreen Jahan Sushila Upadhaya Umar Shaikh Mukesh Jaiswar
Shriram Rajbhar Munawwar Maali Phoolchand Yadav