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Protesters demand housing for poor, rice at Rs. 2

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Long-suffering: CPI(M) activists staging a protest at the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner’s office in Bangalore on Thursday.
Long-suffering: CPI(M) activists staging a protest at the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner’s office in Bangalore on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with people from various slums in Bangalore, picketed the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner’s office, demanding housing sites for the poor and universal access to the public distribution system.

The activists, who have been on a continuous dharna for 30 days near Ulsoor Gate Police Station, on Thursday marched to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, since no Government official or Minister had bothered to pay heed to their demands, said K.N. Umesh, general secretary, CPI(M), Bangalore district committee.

He said that the Bharatiya Janata Party Government had reneged on its electoral promise of providing rice at Rs. 2 a kilo and providing housing sites for the urban homeless poor. Instead, the Government was auctioning the encroached land around Bangalore city, which was identified by the Joint Legislature Committee headed by A.T. Ramaswamy, he added.

The protesters dispersed after Food and Civil Supplies Minister H. Halappa met them and assured them that he would convene a meeting before February 26 to discuss their demands.

No women police

Though more than half the slum dwellers who were at the Deputy Commissioner’s office were women, not a single policewoman was on duty to control the crowd. Policemen were seen pushing everyone, including women, when they tried to enter the Commissioner’s office.

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