Trouble brewed again at Ejipura on Wednesday morning when one of the women, evicted from the land that had housed the Economically Weaker Sections Quarters, threatened to immolate herself when workers of a private construction firm asked her to vacate the area she was living in.
Sitting with a jerrycan of kerosene at her makeshift shelter on the pavement behind the Ganesh temple, just outside the Ejipura shantytown, Vijayalakshmi told the media that some 20 workers, who were laying the roof sheets nearby, came over to her and asked her to leave. “They are now saying that even the land near the temple belongs to them. If we can’t even stay here, where do we go?” she asked.
The workers — said to have been hired by Maverick Holdings Pvt. Ltd., a stakeholder along with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to develop the prime land, — left only after she threatened to immolate herself.
Ms. Vijayalakshmi, a native of Tamil Nadu, said she has been living in the area for 22 years. The mother of three runs the family with her meagre earnings as a domestic help as her husband is asthmatic.
She said Home Minister R. Ashok had given them identity documents and had assured them of rehabilitation. However, no alternative arrangements had been done yet. “There is no proper sanitation, no toilet facility, and we have frequent power cuts in the area,” said Vijayalakshmi whose disgust was expressed by neighbouring residents as well.
The latter said during the altercation with the workers earlier in the day, a policewoman had turned up but it appeared that the police was siding the workers.