April 9th, 2012
A rally demanding rehabilitation for evicted people in Nonadanga and release of the arrested protesters was to be held today at 1 pm at college square in Kolkata. Police prevented the rally to start even and arrested 50 men, 36 women and 7 children accompanying their mothers. They were taken away by 5 prison vans. The rest of the protesters started sit-in there in college square, in front of the Vidyasagar statue.
Sanhati strongly condemns the detentions of seven activists, including three of its members, and the earlier detention of approximately 70 residents of the Nonadanga slum, who were conducting a peaceful demonstration at Ruby junction in protest against the eviction of hundreds of families in the Nonadanga colony in Kolkata. The arrests follow the brutal attack by the police on a rally by the evicted families at the same location on April 4th, during which several women and children were severely injured. Moreover, the arrests occured when police suddenly declared the demonstration to be illegal despite the fact that the organizers had obtained prior permission from the local police station. This turn of events amounts to a gross violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people to democratic dissent and protest.
Residents of Nonadanga were protesting against evictions from their homes on March 30th. The land in Nonadanga, which is very close to a major intersection on the E M Bypass, is a prime target of real estate developers and the current state government aims to evict the “encroachers” and make it available for “beautification”. Incidentally, Nonadanga is where slum dwellers, who were evicted from various canal banks of Kolkata, have been resettled over the past five years and hence the use of the term “encroachers” amounts to slander. In addition to putting on display the TMC government’s connivance with real estate developers, yesterday’s arrests and the clampdown on protests is part of the disturbing trend of the current government’s intolerance of dissent and the general deterioration of the democratic rights situation in West Bengal.
We urge all democratic minded people to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the detainees with annulment of all charges, adequate and proper compensation and rehabilitation for the evicted families, and suitable punishment of all the police personnel responsible for the brutal lathicharge on April 4th.
- In Kolkata, nine-year-old girl spends 9 hours in police lockup (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Appeal for Action- Forcible Eviction in Nonadanga, Kolkata (kractivist.wordpress.com)