The Audugodi police have detained over 25 people who were protesting against the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) eviction drive at the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quarters in Ejipura on Saturday.

The residents and rights group activists were appalled when the police personnel started assaulting the women who had gathered there to protest. According to M.R. Prabhakar, convenor of Dalits and Minorities Land Protection Forum, the male police personnel "assaulted and manhandled" the women protestors. Among the protestors were two research students from the Indian Institute of Science, who have now been detained at the Chamarajpet Women’s Police Station. "This is a gross violation of human rights," Mr Prabhakar said.

The police, meanwhile, claimed that the protestors were detained as they were hampering the demolition work that is being carried out by the BBMP. "When repeated requests to allow eviction and demolition failed, we had to detain the protestors," the police said.

For the second day in a row, the residents have been resisting eviction and demolition of their sheds in Ejipura. The BBMP has entered into a joint development agreement with the Maverick Holding and Investment Pvt. Ltd. to construct multi-level residential complexes for the original 1,512 EWS allottees in around seven areas of the 15 acre land and commercially exploit the remaining land by constructing a mall. The BBMP has taken up demolition of the sheds in the land under heavy protection, which is being opposed by the residents.

Mr. Prabhakar told The Hindu that in view of the upcoming college and school examinations, the BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah had assured the residents that only the empty sheds would be brought down. The other residents would get another two months to vacate their sheds. "However, the BBMP officials are not following the orders of the Commissioner. Under heavy police protection, they are evicting the residents and demolishing the sheds," he alleged.

Solidarity

Slum dwellers from across the city later staged a protest at the BBMP head office expressing solidarity with the Ejipura EWS residents. They raised slogans against the real estate developer and BBMP. Demanding time to vacate, they alleged that the officials were hand-in-glove with the developer.

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