The Mumbai Port Trust ( MbPT) on Tuesday demolished homes of 500 residents in Sewri (East), after allegedly giving them just a night’s notice. The demolition began, but had to stop after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers protested. The residents and AAP volunteers have now got a stay order on the demolition till March 5.
This is the third such drive by the port trust in two months. The trust has earlier demolished slums at Powder Bunder and Kawla Bunder.
there are about 300 hutments in ramgadh basti in sewri. Of these 150 hutments, some of them 60–70 years old, were demolished on tuesday. the people in the settlements are afraid as it is expected that more demolitions will be carried out in the settlement soon. in the demolition action 6 residents have been injured and one 12 year old girl fatima sheikh was seriously injurged. And has been taken to KEM hospital.
on 2nd of march the settlments were served notice for eviction the next day. And the notice served was in english. the residents could not understand the notice and were ill-prepared when the demolition squad came.
the eviction norms were flouted. The notice should be given at least 24 hrs ago, and be handed over to the people. but in this case it did not happen.
in the coming days, it is expected that the rest of the houses, 150 of them, will be demolished.
no alternate options for the effected families have been provided until now.
the residents intend to take rallies and morchas to delhi and demand for rehabilitation.
AAP volunteers who stalled the demolition said due procedure was not followed. “Many slum residents have address proofs and ration cards that date back to 1992, showing the legality of the structures,” an AAP press release read. The port trust has been considering doing away with cut-off for slum structures – the trust wants to consider all slums, even those built before 2000 as illegal.
However, port chairman Ravi Parmar said all due procedure was followed in the demolition drive.
Volunteers said after they began protesting, the police started lathi-charging the residents, leaving two children with fractures. The residents have filed an FIR. “One girl was left with a nasal fracture. She has been admitted to KEM hospital,” said Sundar Balakrishnan, AAP volunteer.
According to Krishna Kumar Chavan, deputy commissioner of police (port zone), the police did not lathi-charge the crowd. He said some l ocals were detained, but let off later. “We have not registered any case or complaint,” Chavan said.
Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police (south region) said both port trust and the police video-recorded the demolition. He said the injured girl’s statement will be recorded on Wednesday.
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