After a lull in the campaign for the hundreds evicted from the Ejipura slum, activists have started posting appeals on the Facebook page of Garuda Mall.
The escalated action follows a petition on the campaign portal, change.org, which sought a cancellation of the project to build a mall on a part of the slum land and a colony of multi-storeyed buildings for those displaced on the remainder of the land.
Maverick Builders, which bagged the contract for the construction, also built the Garuda mall.
Now, the Facebook page of the mall, targeted at shoppers, has turned into a virtual discussion forum on merits and demerits of malls, development projects and the plight of the poor in this country.
“Please don’t destroy someone’s home to build malls! Build them somewhere else,” posted Siddharth Mourya referring to the demolition of the slum in January this year.
Raymond Fernandez commented: “Malls are great — but not at the cost of people’s homes — so will you please move some place else and rake in your wealth? Thank you.”
Some visitors to the page like Neha Rao objected to these posts and said: “Thanks for that info... you better put an end to this house, slum issue on this page before I dislike this page.” Rupert Mathews took off on another tangent by posting, “This was a very big slum very near to Infant Jesus church... finally, God has shown mercy on them, I got to know that some of them were rehabilitated in slum board houses in Shanti Nagar, some were given money and told to find better housing and some were accommodated in neighbouring areas, at least now that place does not have shabby sheds.”
To all the negative comments, the page administrator responded with a 300-word explanation stating the legal position of the project.
Garuda Mall promoter Uday Garudachar said: “All those fellows will get legal notices. Let there be hundreds of them… each one will get a notice. I know that some NGO racketeers are behind this.” He also said that he will file a case with the cyber crimes cell of the police and accused the activists of “taking law into their hands”.