Dr Binayak Sen urges ‘intolerant’ Bengal to change policies


(He speaks in Bangla and Bonglish in it. Below is the text from the description of the video.)
4th MAY, 2012, NONADANGA, kolkata
Binayak Sen urges ‘intolerant’ Bengal to change policies

In the wake of the forcible eviction of people from slums in eastern Kolkata, human rights activist Binayak Sen Friday accused the West Bengal government of being “intolerant” and urged it to change its policies to provide people a better living.

“The basis of our democracy is that there should be tolerance for dissent. Where there is no tolerance, there is no democracy. The state should be sympathetic to them but on the contrary it is increasing their sorry plight,” said Sen who visited the Nonadanga area.

“It is a matter of shame in which the people are being treated. They do not have access to drinking water, distribution of food grains through public distribution system, schools and medical facilities,” he said and promised medical facilities to the families living there.

Sen also criticised the government for arresting the slum dwellers who had been protesting against their eviction.

He also rubbished claims by the government of involvement of Maoists in the protests, saying: “Referring to people as Maoists is a shortcut which the state is using against the people.”

Sen had earlier also been critical of the government for displacing the dwellers.

“It (eviction) is a great tragedy and a great crime committed. It is really inhumane on the part of the government to displace the people without providing viable alternative and livelihood options,” Sen had said Sunday.

The evictees announced they would bring out a rally in the city and meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 17 demanding shelter and proper rehabilitation for the families living in the slum.

The activist urged the people from all sections of society to come out and support the residents in their struggle.

The area has witnessed trouble since March 30 after nearly 130 families were evicted from the slum because of an ongoing project of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.

On the situation in Nonadanga – Pamphlet by Uchched Pratirodh Committee


 

May 1, 2012

We Demand Proper Rehabilitation That is Fit for Human Survival for Slum Dwellers of Nonadanga as well as of Majdur Palli, Shramik Colony, Subhaspalli, Lakepalli, Bhai-Bhai Colony, Bastuhara Colony.

We demand immediate release of the 11 arrested along with all other activists.

The slum dwellers of Nonadanga, evicted on 30th of March, have rebuilt their shanties. After the rallies, demonstrations, mass-protests and the 12 day long hunger strike movement, right when the slum dwellers under the guidance of eviction-resistance committee (Uchchhed Protirodh Committee) have built the shades over their head, the government came down again with its brutality on the slum dwellers on the 28th of April. Eleven people were arrested including 5 women on fabricated charges. Till date two of the previously arrested supporters of the movement has not been released by the state.

This movement of Nonadanga has brought to the forefront the demands related to the condition of schools, hospitals, and drinking water along with the general developmental needs of the entire Nonadanga region. Nonadanga’s movement has brought to the forefront the demands – of the slumdwellers, hawkers and small shop owners – for the right to livelihood and right to shelter of those evicted from the fringes of Kolkata. Nonadanga’s movement has challenged the much-touted plan of converting Kolkata to London; it has put a big question mark on the pro-poor image of the government of “Ma-Mati-Manush”.

The state government, the ruling party and some servile media is spreading false propaganda

From the very beginning, the government has tried to create divisions among the slum dwellers. Creating a split between the dwellers of the two evicted slums of 30th March (viz. Majdur Palli and Shramik Colony), and those of Lakepalli, Bhai-bhai Colony and other nearby slums is the government’s agenda. Deliberate and false propaganda is being spread that the dwellers of the two evicted slums had obtained rehabilitation flats from the government and after selling that off, they are suddenly squatting by building shanties in the open field, in lure of new flats. It is also being said that these people are actually backed by land mafias, NGOs and Maoists. Coming from outside, these people are the ones who are trying to disturb the peace in Nonadanga. On the other hand the chief minister is saying that they have not and will not evict anybody.

Is that really how it is? Or are there other things veiled behind?

What is the state’s plan with Nonadanga?

Ever since the Mamata Banerjee government has come to power, among other things they have started to utilize (!) vacant land in around the city of Kolkata. Under the direction of the urban development minister, KMDA has already started to sell off vacant lands in the city following the public-private partnership (PPP) model. According to the KMDA website, there is about 80 acres of land (along with some water bodies) in their possession which they would like to lease out to private initiatives for 99 years. Multistoried residential complex, shopping malls, multiplex movie halls for the privileged, entertainment centers and water parks will be built on these lands.

The entire field, on one corner of which is Majdur Palli and Shramik Colony, is only 19 acres. We ask – where is then these 80 acres of vacant land in Nonadanga? By the mention of the nearby water bodies, it is clear that by vacant land, the slums are being indicated. That is, not only Majdur Palli and Shramik Colony, little by little, Lakepalli, Bhai-bhai Colony, Subhaspalli, Bastuhara Colony, basically all slums of Nonadanga will eventually be evicted. Only then 80 acres of land can be handed over to the land sharks. They will make profits in crores by constructing residences, entertainment centers, shopping malls, and water parks for the privileged. And hence, those who are saying that rehabilitation flats would be built on this land for the poor are simply lying. There’s no mention of flats for the poor in the KMDA website.

Apparently everyone here owns a flat!

And that is why the government and the profiteers absolutely need this land. That is why eviction has been started from Majdur Palli, Shramik Colony. Others are given the false promise of “rehabilitation”. Once they can crush Majdur Palli and Shramik Colony without providing any rehabilitation, then the rest of the slums can be evicted following the same path. That is why their strategy is to create division amongst us, to weaken us and eventually to evict all of us one by one. And then, will follow, driving out those who do not have proper documentation for their flats. We are challenging you, do not get confused by their false propaganda. If even one such slum dweller can be found in Majdur Palli and Shramik Colony who has sold off their rehabilitation flat of Nonadanga and has constructed shanties in the field in lure of a new flat, the Eviction Resistance Committee (Uchchhed Protirodh Committee) will get rid of their shanty. But why is it their fault, if in the rehabilitation flat, there are four or more adult members and due to lack of space they are forced to live in the shanties in the open fields? If you have any question with regard to this, then come to us and tell us where are we wrong? We have kept the door for discussion and consultation open for all.

Again the outsiders!

It is an irony that when Mamata Banerjee was fighting in the Singur-Nandigram movement, the then CPIM government labeled her as an “outsider”. Today Mamata Banerjee, her party and her servile followers are labeling those who are supporting this movement and who are not slum dwellers themselves as “outsiders”. This is a tragic joke in the recent history of anti-eviction movement in West Bengal. Government of the one time leader of ant-eviction movement is evicting or will evict a large part of the slum dwellers of Kolkata. Is this then the road map for Kolkata to become London?

Life in the flats – rehabilitation or exile!

The other thing that needs to be mentioned is the struggle in the everyday life of the residents of the rehabilitation flats, of the small time business owners in the markets, of the crisis in the lives of the many other residents of Nonadanga. It is true, they have received a small flat of 160 sq.ft., but is that enough for one family? The conditions of basic civic services are beyond reprehensible. We do not have clean water, there is an acute crisis of water in general. There’s no government initiated school, college, health-center or hospital here. The small area that is there as a playground for the kids will be taken over to build the park for the elite. Maybe for more profit, the government will demolish even these flats and will direct the evictees of Khalpar, Narkelbagan, and Govindapur rail colony to move further away. Or they will be enclosed within the net of the big plans of development. We the poor are out of place in this prim and proper city of the elite. Today we are entrapped in this tinned construction; tomorrow the entire Nonadanga will face the same condition.

This is the struggle of all residents of Nonadanga, we must win this struggle

Friends, we are forced to enter this unequal war against the State government, their pampered profiteers, against the false propaganda by the police and some media, only for our survival’s sake. For the sake of a roof over our head. But however unequal this war is, however much they try to beat us, we have been winning. That is why they have come back to beat us again. They are making failed attempts to get some of the government favoured fake intellectuals riled against us. Any kind of resistance is being labeled as “Maoist” to gather legal sanctity to repress it.

Even after all that, they have not been able to suppress this movement. They have arrested 11 of us including 5 women under unethical and false pretexts. And still they could not kill our movement. We continue our movement in demand of proper rehabilitation of all dwellers of Nonadanga, in demand of unconditional release of all agitators. Today this struggle is not only for the Majdoor Palli and Shramik Colony of Nonadanga; today this struggle is for all slum dwellers, for the right to shelter. We plead to you, as a slum dweller, as a resident of this area, join us in this struggle. Be on our side as a defendant of the basic rights. We need all your love, help and support. Let Nonadanga be the new name for our struggle. Let there be hope for the defendants.

With thanks,

Eviction Resistance Committee (Uchched Pratirodh Committee)

[Translated by Atreyi]

Click here to read Bengali Pamphlet

Join- United Protest against Evictions and Repression in West Bengal


25 April, 11.30 am


in front of Banga Bhavan 

 (3, Hailey Road, New Delhi)

(nearest metro station is Mandi House)

Nonadanga, Kolkata, witnessed the complete demolition of the over 200 slumdwellers houses on 30th March 2012. The consequent many peaceful marches brutally lathicharged(April 4, 8, 12…), hundreds of activists arrested and seven branded with ‘anti-national activities’, mass hunger strike for 12 days by the local Ucched Pratirodh Committee and daily confrontations with the KMDA and police later, people are rebuilding their houses and questioning the model of developmental terrorism.
We are aware of similar processes of eviction drives in the name of development in Delhi, and we struggle against the (designs of the) ruling class which underpin it.

Of the seven arrested activists, two continue to languish in jail, one of them under the draconian UAPA.


WE demand:

  • Immediate and unconditional release of all the activists arrested on April 8. Drop charges against all seven of them: Debolina Chakraborty, Samik Chakraborty, Abhijnan Sarkar, Debjani Ghoah, Manas Chatterjee, Siddhartha Gupta and Partha Sarathi Ray.
  • Drop the draconian UAPA and all charges on Debolina Chakraborty, and release her immediately and unconditionally.
  • The state must stop further harassment of residents and activists, and apologise to the people for having infringed upon its democratic right to organise and dissent; and take action against the police officers involved in the lathicharge on April 4.
  • The right to housing and rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers and hawkers in Nonadanga must be immediately ensured in a fair and just manner so that that their labour-power is not further devalued.
  • All construction in Nonadanga by the KMDA must come to an immediate halt. The eviction drive in the city, and the anti-people programme of neo-liberal capitalist development of which it is an integral part, must be stopped.
  • The process of slum-eviction in Delhi must be stopped immediately and inhabitants of the jhuggi-jhopri clusters in the city should be provided with adequate land, and respectable housing with clean drinking-water sources and proper sanitation amenities.

Joint pamphlet for campaign in Delhi on the same from mass organisations is attached in hindi.
its english translation, also given as press note, is available here: http://sanhati.com/articles/4956/

Sd/-
All India Federation of Trade Unions(New)
All India Students Association
All India Revolutionary Students Organisation
Bigul Mazdoor Dasta
Disha Chatra Sagathan
Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association
Krantikari Naujawan Sabha
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan
Mazdoor Patrika
Mehnatkash Mazdoor Morcha
New Socialist Initiative
Peoples’ Democratic Front of India
Progressive Democratic Students Union
People’s Union for Democratic Rights
Posco Pratirodh Solidarity-Delhi
Radical Notes
Sanhati-Delhi
Shramik Sangram Committee
Students For Resistance
Vidyarthi Yuvajan Sabha

STATEMENT ON NONADANGA -from STUDENTS’ FORUM AGAINST MAL-DEVELOPMENT, Siliguri


How many ears must one man have,before he can hear people cry

How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died ..

 

Yes, we are speaking from Nonadanga slum area,Kolkata. Our government has uprooted all the slum-dwellers of Nonadanga from their habitat. On 30th March, police and Kolkata municipal development authority (KMDA) bulldozed the homes of some of the poorest of the poor people of our country; more than 300 homes were burnt. Even the evicted people wasn’t given any time to move their things of daily usage. They were being compelled to stand roofless under the heavy rainfall and northwester; they are living the same life along with their children under the open sky struggling with all adversities of nature till date.

Who are these people? They haven’t come to Kolkata to live in slums by choice. Most of the people have come from Sundarban after the devastating storm ” AILA” destroyed their villages last year. Some have come to ”The city of joy” only to make two ends meet. There isn’t enough employment in the villages, so they have been compelled to leave their homes and to come to the city to find jobs. Some are rickshaw-pullers, some work as electricians,masons; some work as maids in others house.

 

Are they illegal? Twenty-five years ago, the land-reform department of the state govt. made acquisition of the land on the condition of providing sufficient rehabilitation to the people. But the promise was never kept. Some years ago, the state govt. sold all those land to some corporate MNCs who are to build high-tech cities,shopping malls, IT hub and to use the land for real estate business. Ponds were being filled to make high-riser buildings.But the rehabilitation wasn’t ever provided. The people who were on the verge of being thrown out from their own homes,requested the govt. for several times to stop eviction and to provide them with place to live in. But it was a far cry for the govt. to hear and one day the bulldozer started dismantling everything.

The people of Nonadanga along with many democratic individuals, organizations and students started their protest campaign which is still on. These protestors were severely beaten by the police; on 4th April 68 and on 6th April 114 protestors were arrested. Though police released most of the protestors but haven’t released 7 of them who were participating in the movement in solidarity.

Just a few days back, state govt. had released one of them, famous scientist Parthasarathi Roy when the govt. was put under enormous international pressure. But the other 6 activists are still living behind the bar convicted with false charges and even one of the activists,Deblina Chakraborty has been accused with the charge of sedition and has been charged under UAPA (unlawful prevention act)!!- Their crime? These activists have participated shoulder to shoulder with the people fighting in several movements for justice, against forceful eviction by the govt. and for livelihood. These people have denounced the development policy of the govt. where the poor,general people are being tortured,exploited in order to raise corporate profit.

From the arrest of the professor of Jadavpur University for making some cartoons of the chief minister to the brutal attack on the protestors fighting for democratic rights; from imposing false charges to the activists to bulldozing Nonadanga,Chandmoni- the tendency of onslaught against democracy has turned to be epidemic and is increasing.

Even if today we seat deaf and dumb and act ignorant in-spite of knowing everything, the longlasting effect is not going to spare us tomorrow. It is eating up the society and will swallow every single space of breathing in near future- it will destroy our society. So its not the time for making condolences, its the time to be vocal and to come out with indignation. ”Which organization, which ideology do you belong”-is obsolete in this time when social injustice is turning to be the rule of the day

.Friends, we are urging you to come up against all forceful evictions which is going on throughout our country including Nonadanga. Lets stand hand in hand to build barricade of resistance against these mal-development and for our democratic rights. Lets incorporate our friends,associates and neighbors in this fight for justice and humanity.

Because its only the struggle of the people of Nonadanga which has stopped the state govt. and its powerful machinery for this long from uprooting their homes.Our collective struggle is our only weapon to defeat this tyranny because struggle does matter.

PRESENT IS THE TIME OF STRUGGLE & THE FUTURE IS OURS.

 

 

date:18.4.2012                             -STUDENTS’ FORUM AGAINST MAL-DEVELOPMENT                                                                           University of North Bengal , Siliguri 

Joint Statement on Forcible Eviction and Police Brutalities in Kolkata


Immediate Release

Condemn the Eviction Drive in Nonadanga, Kolkata!

 

Demand Immediate Release of Arrested Activists!

 

The Trinamool Congress-led Government of West Bengal is daily showing its anti-people character. Its Police and the bulldozers of the KMDA (Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority) razed to the ground and burnt the slums and homes of more than 800 people in Nonadanga, Kolkata on 30th March 2012. These are the same people who were resettled after evictions from various canal banks across Kolkata, and from the dispossessed from the hurricane Aila in 2009. A protest march called against the forceful eviction by residents and progressive organisations and individuals on 4th April was also brutally lathicharged by the Police, critically injuring many. Yesterday on 8th April, a sit-in demonstration was violently broken and 67 people were arrested, with false cases pressed on seven activists of various democratic mass organisations supporting the struggle.

 

They have been remanded in police custody till 12th April, and there is an attempt by the state to frame these democratic rights activists, falsely alleging that arms and   munitions have been found on them. Also on 9th April, 114 demonstrators who were protesting against these moves by the government were arrested from College Street. On 10th April, a huge consignment of police has cordoned off the entire area and the threat of imminent demolition even of the temporary tents and community kitchen looms large, reminding us of the situation in Singur in 2006.

 

The government had earlier refused to provide even basic amenities like water, school, drainage system and proper housing in these resettlement colonies and pushed them into an ‘illegal’ existence, and made them dependent on the networks of local Trinamool and CPI(M) goons. And now in the name of beautification, this violent eviction drive is set on the roll on these supposed ‘illegal encroachers’ whose cheap labour is ‘legally exploited’ to run the city’s economy. Anyone opposing this kind of violent ‘development’ of the

ruling classes, has been declared to be ‘Maoists’ and ‘inciting outsiders’ conveniently by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee again in her press statements to delegitimize the struggle, while the common lands of Kolkata are handed over to the corporate land sharks in the best traditions set up by the previous CPI(M)-led government.

 

WE, the undersigned organisations, condemn the arrests made on 8th April of protestors sitting in a demonstration in Ruby Junction, and demand that the 7 activists of various mass organisations who continue to be arrested be released and the false charges against them be dropped immediately, as the government is acting against the democratic right to organize and dissent.

 

We condemn the action of the Trinamool-led West Bengal Government and the brutal lathicharge on 4th April, and continued harassment by the Kolkata Police on the residents of Nonadanga and those protesting against the ongoing eviction process in the name of ‘beautification’ of the city, and demand action against the police officers involved.

We stand with the struggle of the residents of Nonadanga and demand an immediate halt to the eviction drive in the city and the anti-people development, and proper compensation and rehabilitation for all the slum dwellers and hawkers in Nonadanga and in the evictions all over Kolkata.

 

Issued by:
AIFTU (New)
AISA
AIRSO
Bigul Mazdoor Dasta
Delhi Metro Kamgar Union
Democratic Students Union
Disha Students Organisation
Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Forum
Krantikari Naujawan Sabha
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan
Pragatishil Mehnatkash Mazdoor Morcha
Mehnatkash Patrika
Mazdoor Patrika
New Socialist Initiative
Peoples Democratic Front of India
People’s Union for Democratic Rights
Posco Pratirodh Solidarity Delhi
Sanhati, Delhi
Students for Resistance
Vidyarthi Yuvajan Sabha

West Bengal evicts ecological refugees occupying prime real estate in Kolkata


Author(s): Sayantan Bera, Down To Earth, April 11, 2012

Seven hundred rendered homeless; activists demanding homes for them branded Maoists
image
Mahadev Mandal came with his family to Kolkata after the Aila super-cyclone hit Sundarbans in 2009. He works as a rickshaw-puller and is one among the 200 families in the squatter colony

Nearly 200 squatter families living in Nonadanga in east Kolkata for the past few years are in the process of being evicted by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA). On March 30, the slum was bulldozed amid heavy police presence and some hutments were set on fire. The recurrent thunderstorms over the past few days has meant sleepless and soiled nights for nearly 700 people who have been rendered homeless. They work as house helps, rickshaw pullers and construction labourers. Many of the families came to Kolkata in search of work, after the Aila super-cyclone ravaged Sundarbans in 2009, Down To Earth found on its visit to the site. Several families were former squatters who were evicted earlier from the Tolly Canal, for expansion of the Metro Railway and from a cement factory site in south Kolkata.

tsunami
Evicted families have refused to move without rehabilitation

While the government claims the squatters settled only two months back and are not eligible for either compensation or rehabilitation, the families have started a resistance movement backed by civil rights groups. On April 4, as the families took out a protest march they were caned by the police, injuring among others a pregnant woman and children. Nearly 70 people were arrested and released later, except for seven who the police accused of having Maoist links and “possibly stockpiling arms” at the eviction site. They include prominent civil rights activists, Partha Sarathi Roy of Sanhati and Debolina Chakrabarti of Matangini Mahila Samiti, who were part of the Singur and Nandigram movements that led to the toppling of the 34-year-old left rule in the state. After winning a landmark victory last November, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had declared her plans to transform Kolkata into London. This does not augur well for slum colonies. According to a 2003 UN Habitat report, one-third of Kolkata lives in more than 5,500 registered and unregistered slums.

Read more  here

PUDR – Condemns Attack on Nonadanga slum dwellers by West Bengal Police in Kolkata


Statement from PUDR – Condemn Attack on Nonadanga slum dwellers by West Bengal Police in Kolkata

10.04.2012

PUDR strongly condemns the violent demolition of the Nonadanga slums on March 30th in Kolkata, and the subsequent police brutality on peaceful anti-eviction protests followed by the vindictive arrest of activists.

Nonadanga is the area where the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has been resettling slum dwellers evicted from various parts of Kolkata over the past five years under the BSUP (Basic Services to Urban Poor) scheme of the JNNURM. The resettlement projects have been run by KMDA and the Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project (KEIP) jointly. Preliminary reports indicate that slum residents also include refugees from Singur and Nandigram, as well as people displaced by Cyclone Aila. So, by no stretch of logic are these slum-dwellers ‘encroachers’ as claimed by the state government. In fact, the land in Nonadanga is very close to a prime city location and the present drive to clear the space by the Trinamool government is the first step towards its plans of handing over this land to real estate companies for ‘beautification and development’.

The brutality of the State police force in dealing with peaceful demonstrations, openly captured by television crews, needs to be strongly condemned. Such as the lathi-charge on the protest rally by slum residents on April 4, that left many injured, including a pregnant woman, Rekha Patra, and a 3 year old child, Joy Paswan. On April 8, a peaceful sit-in demonstration by the residents and activists was broken up by the police despite them having prior permission from the authorities. The police have resorted to mass intimidation of slum dwellers and other protesters along with arrests of activists opposing the demolition. 7 activists of whom 2 are women have been charged under sections 353 (assault on public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to public servant), 141 (unlawful assembly), 143 (punishment), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon) and 149 (common objective of disruption) of the IPC and are in police custody till the 12th of April.

PUDR notes with concern that this demolition, attacks and arrests come in a continuum of a worsening democratic rights situation in West Bengal. Another alarming phenomenon is the bringing out of the ‘Maoist’ bogey to define all democratic movements as if that gives the state unmitigated rights to disregard the law and crush people’s movements and aspirations with armed might.

Condemning the blanket ban announced by the State Government on all protests on this issue throughout the state, PUDR demands:

* That the eviction drive be stopped,
* The immediate and unconditional release of all arrested activists and the withdrawal of false charges against them,
* That the demolished slum be rebuilt with proper facilities in the same spot
* That the guilty Police officials be punished, and
* That the Government stop attacking the fundamental right of people to voice their protest against injustices.

Signed
Preeti Chauhan & Paramjeet Singh, Secretaries PUDR

Immediate Release-Demonstrators against Slum Evictions arrested in Kolkata


Sanhati, April 8, 2012

Many demonstrators, including Sanhati activists, arrested during protest meeting

Message received from activists: Around 80 people including many women and children have been arrested while the meeting was continuing peacefully. Sanhati members Samik, Parag, Abhijnan and Partho have been arrested along with many other activists. Peoples spirits are high. The movement will go on.

Earlier : a day long sit-in demonstration to protest against Nonadanga slum demolition and forcible eviction, started at Ruby junction around 10am.

For the last one week, the evicted people are staying in an open field under the scorching sun and the blinding rain, facing police repression, but have refused to move away.

*********

7 April 2012

Letter to CM from residents of Nonadanga
Translated by Riten Mitra

Dear Sir,

We are a total of about 150 households and Nonadanga grounds has been our home for quite some time. Some of us have been here for the last two years, some six. There is another colony consisting of about 100 families, with an estimated mean population of about seven to eight hundred. We had all come to stay here from different parts of West Bengal. For the last 34 years, we have been victims of severe deprivation, working as cheap labor and trying hard to make ends meet in times of scarcity. Now we are to be ousted again. Where shall we go from here?

It is your government that replaced the old one for one, Tapasi Mallik. Then how could you drive away seven to eight hundred families at one go ? If we were just one or two households, like in the past, the shock would have been less. Are we to understand that the land which was deemed useless by the government, for the last 50 to 60 years, is now suddenly required ?

We are a group of helpless poor who have reached the limits of desperation. We appeal to you for the last time with the hope that you can come here and see our daily living conditions for yourself. If Didi could rush to the scene for one Tapashi Mallik, then she could surely hear the voices of 800 poor people and come here to see us. We look forward to seeing her. We hope that she comes and sees us.

Yours respectfully,

Nonadanga Majdur Palli
Thana-Tiljala
South 24 Parganas

Report of brutal lathicharge on protest by evicted slum-dwellers
by Partho Sarathi Ray

5 April 2012

Video : Clash at Ruby More

On 4th April, the Kolkata police conducted a brutal lathicharge on a peaceful protest rally of slum dwellers who have been evicted over the past one week from their hutments in Nonadanga in south Kolkata. Nonadanga is the area where slum dwellers evicted from various canal banks of Kolkata are being resettled over the past five years under the BSUP (Basic Services to Urban Poor) scheme of JNNURM. The resettlement projects have been run by KMDA (Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority) and KEIP (Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project) who own the land in the area, although no basic services or amenities for the families sent to this area, such as schools or health services were provided. Nonadanga also became a place where many other families, escaping the ravages of hurricane Aila, or failed crops and indebtedness in their villages, came and settled. They had to pay Rs 5000 to Rs 10000 to the local CPI(M) or Trinamool Congress bosses, in order to be allowed to build hutments on the vacant land lying around. It is these people who are being evicted now, their shanties demolished and burnt down by KMDA and the police, as they are being labeled as “encroachers”. The real reason behind this is that the land in Nonadanga, very close to a major intersection on the E M Bypass, is a prime target of real estate developers, and these “encroachers” have to be removed in order to make this land available for “beautification”.

Last week the KMDA, went on a demolition drive, in spite of an appeal by the slum dwellers to the urban development minister Firhad Hakeem. The latter openly stated that all “illegal” settlers would be evicted. Around 200 shanties were bulldozed, and all belongings of these families were destroyed. Since then, around 150 families are staying out in the open, in the scorching sun, and their only means of sustenance is a public kitchen being run by some Leftist youth and political organizations which have come forward in solidarity with the slum dwellers. Yesterday, the evicted people had tried to take out a rally towards the E M Bypass road, but the police first prevented them from reaching the road, and then lathicharged. The rally, consisting of many women and children, was broken up in this brutal manner and many people have been injured. Women were beaten up mercilessly by male police. A pregnant woman named Rita Patra was injured and has been hospitalized. A 3 year old child Joy Paswan has had his head fractured by a police lathi. Many activists who were in the march were also beaten up in a targeted manner. However, the slum dwellers have not shifted from their demand of proper rehabilitation and compensation and would be marching to the office of the urban development minister today.

The government of “maa, mati, manush” of Mamata Banerjee has shown its true colours, evicting the “manush” from the “mati” and beating up the “maa”, all in order to hand over the commons land of Kolkata to the corporate land sharks in the best traditions set up by the previous CPI(M)-led government.

Appeal for Action- Forcible Eviction in Nonadanga, Kolkata


On 30th March  Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) evicted close to hundred huts in Nonadanga, near EM Bypass in Kolkata. Interestingly, this new township is made up of rehabilitated people from all over Kolkata, who have been evicted since the Globalization started ousting poor people from important parts of the city. Thousands of evicted people live there in numerous 10 ft by 12 ft or smaller sized ‘flats’.

As the rural south Bengal is reeling under crisis in agriculture, A lot of villagers are coming to Kolkata in search of casual menial jobs to earn there livelihoods. Thus new slums are being born everyday, here and there in the city. Then comes the rampant eviction drives by Government, without any kind of rehabilitation in most of the cases. It is to note here that eviction without providing any rehabilitation can not be done, according to the new policy adopted by Central Government, which is, in turn, a long told demand by NGOs and activists dealing with evictions. But it appears that neither KMDA, nor the State Government care for this.

Nonadanga, being a rehabilitation place for evicted poor in the City, attracted a lot of poor people migrated from south Bengal. The influx has risen since 2009-10, while AILA, a super cyclone struck south Bengal and left the villages ruined and cultivation impossible as salty sea water, carried by cyclone, entered into the villages and fields. This has become an added plight to the villagers of south Bengal who are already at stress due to continuous crisis in agriculture. Migration from villages, which was already started, took a giant leap and more than 25 percent people left south Bengal for various cities in India, including Kolkata. A lot of them came to Nonadanga, hoping that an eviction drive would not happen in a neighbourhood which is full of rehabilitated people. More than fifty makeshift huts have been erected in front of the rehabilitation flats. A neighbourhood was born barely a year ago, named ‘Majdoor Colony’. The colony has got a neighbour ‘Lake Colony’, which was born a couple of years back. People evicted from other places in the city and who didn’t get the ‘rehabilitation flats’ made up this Colony.

There are a lot of self-made colonies in Nonadanga, acting as unofficial refuge to the evicted people in Kolkata and for those who are coming in the city from villages. Many a lot has been evicted already, as the Nonadanga township will not remain as a rehabilitation township but would act as an extension of the city of Kolkata; hence a lot of factories are being built there. Unofficial and self made rehabilition colonies would be evicted one after another — the news has been in the air in Nonadanga for months now.

Barely a week ago, KMDA evicted a number of makeshift shops adjacent to the EM Bypass road to facilitate extension of the road. A new wave of eviction in Nonadanga has become imminent as KMDA came along with 7 vans of police force and told people to leave ‘Majdoor Colony’ a couple of days back. People resisted on that day, successfully. Yesterday, minister of Urban Developement, Firhad Hakim came and told that a couple of colonies would be evicted on the next day. Police vans, Bulldozers arrived.

Morning starts with a resistance from habitats, which lasted for two hours, until Police started repression by arresting 7 women (unconfirmed) and setting off fire in some huts. To note here, putting slum  huts into fire is a long used technique by Kolkata Police during eviction. But nobody can blame them as they always decline the accusation and use local goons or plain clothed police personnel to do that. Fire put out the resistance today. Eviction in Majdoor Colony went on smoothly thereafter. Another smaller colony, named ‘Subhash Pally’ is waiting for eviction today.

  Ground report by —Shamik Sarkar

For regular updates on the issue

 Contact-  Nonadanga sananda dashgupta 8296461095, Sutanaya chakrabarty 9433092338


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