India

Medha Ends Fast on 9th Day, Maharashtra Govt Accepts NAPM Demands

Mahrashtra Government agrees to 5 major demands of the struggle and issues government resolution regarding the same.

Zameen Haqq Satyagraha from October 2 in Mumbai.

BeyondHeadlines Correspondent

Mumbai: Noted social activist Medha Patkar, who was on hunger strike against the eviction of slum-dwellers from Golibar in Mumbai’s suburban Khar, broke her fast on the ninth day on Staurday afternoon after the Maharashtra Government agreed to her demands.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan activist was on a fast from May 20 in Golibar slum area of Mumbai, where 140 acres of land has been handed to a private builder. The activist claims that signatures of slum dwellers were forged on letters of consent given for a proposed slum-rehabilitation project.

Patkar wants the removal of Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, 1971, clause 3K that allows the state government to take over land without requiring consent of slum dwellers, investigation into all the projects sanctioned under this section and the implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojana in Mumbai.

(Outlook photo)

Talking to BeyondHeadlines, Madhuresh Kumar, an associate of the activist and a member of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement (NAPM), said: “Medha has ended her fast after District Magistrate Nirmal Deshmukh came up with a notification. They have agreed to her demands.”

“The government has agreed to constitute two new joint committees with representatives of the civil society. One would look into the Ganesh Kripa Housing Society issue and would submit its report on June 15,” Kumar said.

The second committee would investigate 15 slum areas where 3K clause of Maharashtra Slum Act has been used and submit a report in four months, he said.

On May 20, when the homes were being demolished in the Ganesh Krupa Society, she was detained on her way to the site of demolition.
Patkar broke her fast by accepting lemon juice from 80-year-old Akanksha Bai, a resident of the Ganesh Krupa Housing Society, who was in jail for resisting demolition.

Akanksha told BeyondHeadlines: “It is a victory of the lakhs of people fighting for their right to live in the financial capital of India with dignity. The real fight is about the right over land of the poor who make this city what it is. Today, the land is being given or grabbed by the builders and influential people like Mukesh Ambani who has built his 27 storey building on the land of Waqf Board.”

She said that about 33,000 acres of land, which was either encroached or free, was now available after the Land Ceiling Act had been revoked. “After September 30, when the work of these committees would be over, we will launch Land Haq Satyagraha (land owner struggle) in Mumbai to capture the government land for the poor of the city. Our Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan has a bigger battle ahead and against a powerful lobby. If he intends to fight it, we are with him, or else we are on the path of struggle and justice and dignity for poor.”

Syed Zuber, fasting for the 5th day, said: “What we have achieved today here only shows that if people together come and fight, nothing seems impossible. When we met the chief secretary three days ago and the way he talked to us further boosted our resolve that we have to take the fight to the finish.”

Another protester Simpreet Singh also told BeyondHeadlines: “The fight is against making this city of the working class, for the working class and by the working class and not of the builder, for the builder and by the builder. With the Adarsh Housing Society, we showed to the country the kind of nexus between politicians, builders and bureaucracy is going on in Mumbai. We have a long battle ahead to get the recommendations of these committees implemented.”

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