Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fwd: While Mumbai was paralyzed with rains, 1000 families build homes



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While Mumbai was paralysed by rains, 1000 families build homes 

Last night, while Mumbai was paralyzed by the rains, over 1000 families worked tirelessly through the night, reclaiming land in Mandala that was snatched from them a decade earlier in the brutal 2005 demolitions and then twice again subsequently. On the 26th of May, they had begun a Satyagraha for their rights. They were supported by social activist Medha Patkar, Swaraj Abhiyan, RPI and Aam Aadmi Party.

This has been a ten-year-long battle that the residents of Mandala have been fighting with civic authorities and the political establishment. Previous governments and authorities have made several promises including the promise of Mandala being the pilot project for the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). Not one promise has been fulfilled.  For the last 25 days, they have fasted, marched, written petitions and even staged a sit-in at the Collector's office. Unwilling to wait any further for the government to respond, they decided it was time to build their homes and find shelter from the rains.

The police arrived at midnight, harassed residents and left. Munira, a resident of Mandala said "We settled this land when there was nothing here, how can we let the government take it from us?" Medha Patkar showed paintings that the young children of Mandala had drawn - a house with a road surrounded by greenery - and said that they had launched this satyagraha to "secure the future of these children."

This morning, when the sun rose, hundreds of structures had gone up. The rains haven't dampened spirits and people are working  to complete construction of their homes by the end of the day.
Some of the residents have been on a hunger strike protesting the government's inaction while many others have been fasting for Ramzan. Work is on in full swing and by nightfall, residents of Mandala will have taken what is rightfully theirs.

For details contact Bilal : 099586 6055 and Atiq: 99873 08058

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