A few residents of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) shanty town that once stood on prime land at Ejipura near Koramangala, accompanied by rights activists, met Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Wednesday.
They submitted a memorandum to party leaders at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office on Queen’s Road and at Jagannatha Bhavan, BJP head office in Malleswaram.
Their main demand was that the Congress should not give the ticket to Shantinagar MLA N.A. Haris to contest in the coming Assembly elections alleging that their homes were demolished at the MLA’s behest.
The residents have identified with the slum dwellers of Golibar, Mumbai, who are also being evicted from their homes of over 20 years. In the memorandum, the residents and rights activists pointed out that in Mumbai, the Opposition BJP was not objecting to the “illegal, monstrous evictions” at Golibar, while in Bangalore, the Opposition Congress did not object to the evictions carried out by the BJP government.
“It appears that both parties want to protect interests of the real estate lobby and builders, while neglecting the interests of the urban poor and working class of the city,” the memorandum stated.
Speaking to the Congress leaders, one of residents asked why their rights were being trampled upon. “More than 150 families still live on the footpaths on the periphery of the site where their homes once stood. Our homes were razed so that a mall could come up there. Why are we lesser citizens of the state just because we are poor?” she asked.
Another resident questioned how their hutments could be termed illegal when the government itself has issued ration cards, voters’ identity cards and Aaadhar card.
The residents demanded the scrapping of the agreement between Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Maverick Holdings Pvt. Ltd. The other demands included handing back the EWS Quarters land to the residents and withdrawal of all false cases against the residents.
“As the indefinite fast against demolitions enters the seventh day in Mumbai, we stand with the residents of Golibar against classist, casteist, patriarchal state and socioeconomic system that has displaced the poor and struggling masses to give away land to wealthy and exploitative builders. This repeats the historical injustice of displacing and perpetuating atrocities upon Dalits and religious minorities, which destroys homes and pushes women out on the streets…,” a communiqué stated.