Press Note – Ruthless Demolition in Malvani, Malad reveals the falsity of the Housing for All slogan of this Government. Kiske Acche Din?
6 June 2015
On 4 June 2015 a demolition of more than 350 households was carried out in Malad. This settlement known as ‘Katcha Rasta’ is adjacent to the New Collector’s Compound in Malvani. On 6 June (today) there was another spate of demolitions in the area. This demolition was carried out in-spite of assurances given by the Forest Dept, Police and local MLA that no further demolition would take place until the monsoon ends.
For the last two days families have been living in the open with no place to go, it even rained in Malvani last night worsening the situation. Mumbai is expecting monsoon in a weeks time which means that around 500 families will be on road in this monsoon. Tonight at-least 150 more families will be without shelter. Children and women have been the worst affected. Around 500 children will not be able to attend school which starts next week. This demolition violates their fundamental Right To Education (RTE).
A notice regarding proposed eviction had been sent to only 50 families on 17 May 2015. The notice stated that these homes had been constructed on mangrove land under the ownership of the Forest Department and hence would be evicted. However, nearly 450 homes not on mangroves, who had not received a notice of eviction were also demolished. This mass eviction of the poor from their homes is in absolute contravention of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act (1971) as it is imperative that an advance notice of at least 24 hours is given (Sec. 3(z)i-2) prior to eviction.
On the 4th June 2015, 5 women from the area who attempted to save their homes were arrested by the police, one of who had a three month old child and had to remain in custody overnight till bail application was processed. Today another three people were taken in police custody, two of who are activists (Architect Aravind Unni and Sachin Nachnekar) of Hamara Shehar Mumbai Campaign which has been advocating for affordable housing in the Development Plan of the city. They were detained merely for trying to negotiate with the police who had gone back on their assurances of not demolishing any homes till after the monsoons.
Hamara Shehar Mumbai condemns these evictions and the gross violation of human rights. Such events reinforce the need for affordable public housing to be reserved in the DP.
Attached are pictures from the demolition drive.
Noorjahaan Shiakh Mahattam Mourya Sitaram Shelar Marina Joseph
for Hamara Shehar, Mumbai