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Medha Patkar Vow to Continue Fast till Demands Met

BeyondHeadlines   Special Correspondent

Mumbai: Even though the Maharashtra government offered to probe the controversial slum projects, activist Medha Patkar will continue her fast as the former failed to promise a time-bound inquiry as demanded by her. The five-hour-long meeting between chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad and Patkar on Wednesday, failed to yield any result. Patkar, who has been on indefinite hunger strike since last Friday, has been demanding changes in the slum rehabilitation policy and probe into slum projects including the one at Golibar near Khar.

Refusing the proposal to break the fast, Patkar said, “I will continue my fast till the government agrees to our demands and gives a written commitment.”

File photo of Medha Patkar

The activist sought an inquiry by the high power committee in a time-bound manner. The panel was set up in 2005 and consists of four members of the NAPM, but has met only four times.

The meeting took place in two sittings. In the first sitting, Gaikwad agreed to discuss the implementation of the Rajiv Awas Yojana, an inquiry in the Golibar redevelopment and other projects under controversial 3K clause of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, 1971, and stay on the demolitions at Ganeshkripa Society till the inquiry is over. “We will probe the ongoing projects under this section. A decision about the 3K section can be sought accordingly,” he said.

The second sitting, however, ended on an ugly note after Patkar walked out from the meeting citing dissatisfaction over oral assurances from the government.

People from nook and corner of the state have joined in relay fasting. Many eminent personalities and social activists like Anna Hazare, Swami Agnivesh, GR Khairnar and Arvind Kejriwal have extended support to Medha Patkar.

Organizations like Republican Panthers, Ekveera Sez Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, Tata Dharan Grast Sangharsh Samiti, farmers from Malegaon, Chemical Mazdoor Sabha, Shramik Janta Sangh, India Against Corruption, Brihan Mumbai Niwas Abhiyan Samiti, SUCI, Lok Jagran Manch, Brihanmumbai Nivara Abhiyan Samiti, and many others have joined the protest.

Apart from Delhi and Aurangabad, demonstrations were also held in Thrissur and Calicut. Similar events are being planned in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and other places. Supporters have also started an online petition addressed to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prime Minister and Smt. Sonia Gandhi, President INC. International support is also being mobilized and emails are being sent to the CM demanding for putting a moratorium to all demolitions until an independent enquiry is held in to the 3k clause related projects and SRA is completely reviewed.

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