- Vipul Kumar, Facebook
August 27, Mumbai: Today at about 11:00 am in the morning 150 homeless people of Agarwari were forcefully and illegally evicted by the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation from the pavement where they resided from the past 25 years. Their homes were broken, the tinned roofs and utensils were carried away by the BMC, the pavement cordoned by barbed wires and hundreds of flower pots were planted on the same pavement.
The eviction apparently took place as part of ‘beautification drive’ undertaken by the BMC. Ram Chandra, who resides in one of the 68 households on the pavement, pointed out that “the land behind these pavements has been taken on lease by the owner of the restaurant Vijay Punjab who plans to convert it into a marriage hall and therefore we are being evicted.” Though the owner’s name and plans are yet to be confirmed, the eviction has been taken place without any prior notice and in complete violation of the Article 49 of UN’s Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and Displacement which says that no eviction can take place during monsoon.
When approached, the BMC officials have refused to take any responsibilities for the evicted people who presently are squatting next to the pavement. Private security guards (NISA) have been stationed outside the barbed pavement. This is a clear nexus between few vested interest with BMC as besides the regular policing, there were private security guards(NISA) patrolling side by side which is legally unheard of in any eviction undertaken by the BMC. Plants have been placed in the space that once included the homes of these marginalized sections of the society. If they are removed on the basis of illegal squatter then who in actual is responsible for the rehabilitation of these homeless citizens?