Houses of 1400 poor Dalit and Muslim families under threat of demolition in Mumbai
No eviction without rehabilitation
Due process of law to be followed before carrying out the demolition drive
Mumbai | 6th May, 2018: Amidst hollow populist claims of ‘Housing For All’ and ‘Affordable housing’, the government-administration of Mumbai is once again threatening to demolish homes of around 1400 poor Dalit and Muslim families.
Two slum areas-Bheemchhaya in Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli and Cheeta Camp in Trombay are set to be razed to ground by bulldozers.
Bheemchhaya is a Dalit majority community with 800 households while Cheeta Camp is a Muslim majority slum community with 600 households. The demolition will be carried out by the Maharashtra Forest Department.
Government claims that these areas are notified as forest and needs be free of encroachment. However, without following the due process of law and making enough provisions for grievance redressal, the Forest Department has announced the demolition of Cheeta Camp will be carried out tomorrow and Bheemchhaya on later dates. No notices of demolition have been served to the affected families.
These slums are protected as per Maharashtra Slum Act but the Forest Department has notified these areas as ‘reserved forest’ and is disrespecting the housing rights of the slum dwellers by refusing to rehabilitate the protected slum dwellers.
Heavy police forces are deployed for the demolition drive. Local police station of Cheeta Camp is terrorising Muslim youths and threatening them of dire consequences if they try to resist the demolition drive.
While in Bheemchhaya, Forest Department has issued orders of demolition on false grounds without providing the aggrieved slum dwellers any mechanism to appeal against the order. This action will amount to violation of section 3 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which prohibits eviction of member of a Dalit Community without following due process of law.
This government is disregarding the vulnerabilities of the Dalits and minority communities in this country by demolishing their only shelter. This will lead to further marginlisation of these communities.
Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan appeals to the state government of Maharashtra to stop this demolition of homes of vulnerable families with children.