National Advisory Council members, academicians, social activists and street vendors’ representatives have protested against the alleged eviction of hawkers in Mumbai.
According to a statement issued by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), Tata Institute of Social Sciences Professor Sharit Bhowmik, NAC member Mirai Chatterjee, former NAC member and director of Centre for Equity Studies Harsh Mander and Renana Jhabvala of Self-Employed Women’s Association have written to Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ajay Maken and the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to ensure “immediate halt to the forced eviction drive and justice to the suffering street vendors and hawkers”.
“The current eviction drive of hawkers in Mumbai has surpassed all limits of actions against the urban poor. The worst situation prevails in the Western region of the city where all 15 police stations falling under the area from Bandra to Jogeshwari have started evicting hawkers with brutal force. In Kalina and Ville Parle areas, the private security guards have been employed by the police to come down heavily on the hawkers. Women vendors are mostly targeted as they are viewed as weak and helpless,” the statement quoted them as saying in the statement to Mr. Maken and Mr. Chavan. Arguing that the eviction drive has caused “tremendous loss of livelihoods” to over 2 lakh hawkers, the statement said: “These people have been rendered in penury. The affected sections include vegetable growers and thousands of workers in small factories who produce goods that are sold through hawkers and the urban poor who depend on hawkers for their requirements.”