BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
Mumbai: Sandeep Yavle, housing rights activist of Mumbai who is in the forefront of exposing corruption and exploitation of builders in the name of SRA, was attacked on June 1 in his office at 10.15 am.
Sandeep was preparing for an interview with news channel TV 9 on the issues of demolition of houses by builders in the name of SRA in the slums of Ram Nagar Ghakhopar. The builders had demolished houses leaving live wires and clogging sanitary lines.
The SRA Project in Ghatkhopar Ramnagar has started from 2006 by Satra Property Developers. Many people have objections regarding the project with regard to the nature of transit accommodation, forgeries and corruption being perpetuated by the builders and the concept of vertical development. About 40,000 square meter is being developed by the Satra Developers in the area while the one in question is about 29,000 square meters.
Yavle was attacked by about 150 people under the leadership of the local shiv sena leaders and was instigated by their zonal leader who is also the project director of Satra properties. “False information was spread among the public and people were instigated against Sandeep that he was try to scuttle the project,” sources said.
The mob, which included outsiders from the area, thrashed Sandeep in his chest, head and shoulders. His kurta was torn and one of his colleagues is admitted in the hospital with head injuries. The mob also took away a camera, mobile, recorder, documents and a cash amount of Rs 7,000.
The immediate provocation may have been the inclusion of the said project in the list of SRA projects that will now be scrutinized by a committee composing members of the government and National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM). This committee was set up after a hunger strike by Medha Patkar for 9 days at Golibar last month. Sandep was active in the struggle at Golibar struggle for bringing accountability to Builders. Sandeep was also accessing the relevant document by RTI and was inspecting them for the last one month, which shows the manipulation done by the builders.
The police have refused to file an FIR in-spite of activists going to the police station and giving written application. The police is threatening to put false cases against sandeep. Members of the local community say that the attempt was to scuttle protests and teach a lesson to those inquiring the corruption in SRA.