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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

10 days after demolition,fear & anger in Mankhurd

The razing of 1,250 hutments took a few hours but the sprawling shanty town of Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd is scarred,even 10 days later.

Written by Sharvari Patwa | Mumbai | May 24, 2010 4:24:59 am

The razing of 1,250 hutments took a few hours but the sprawling shanty town of Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd is scarred,even 10 days later.

It resembles a refugee camp in a war zone. People live in fear and express anger even as prominent politicians visit and promise the slumdwellers their rights would be protected.

Hundreds of colorful tarpaulin sheets supported by bamboo have come up. Residents search for utensils,clothes and school books that scattered in the ruins. Activists including Medha Patkar and Shabana Azmi led a peaceful protest at the site and over 300 letters have been written to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan,summarising the slumdwellers’ disgruntlement and fear.

Although his own house has not been demolished yet,Vijay Sabe,a labourer,has not gone for work for the last 10 days. “I have to stay home as nothing is safe here anymore and the police can come anytime and start the demolition.”

He adds that although promises have been made by influential people “there is no guarantee against what the government will do.”

On Sunday,the makeshift tent next to the once functional Bombay Soap Company,which has now become headquarter of sorts for politicians and social activists,also wore a deserted look.

Among those who stood on the dais was MP Sanjay Dina Patil (NCP),who,slumdwellers claim,has assured them their houses would not be demolished. A medical camp was in place to examine project affected people who are ill.

For Khan Sehwaj Mohammad (12) who will return to school in less than a month,now has no school uniform or books.  “I will go to school in June. I hope we are given books by the school,” he says. “I want to be a police officer when I grow up and beat the people who have done this to us,” says the 12-year-old.

“When they started the demolition,they did not even let us take our things from our houses,we were just pushed outside”,says Sajjan Mohhammad Khan.

“Earlier,we had connected pipes from a water connection nearby. Now the connection has been cut and we have to fetch water from a kilometre away and spend Rs 50-100 on it,says another resident.

“We had been promised water by a politician and he has given a big tank for that,but it is still empty,” said Ayesha Khatun. “The big 500-litre tank is just a showpiece,” she adds.

For her,a widow,feeding four children in this mayhem is difficult.  “I can’t even go to work”,she says.

The massive drive on May 13 saw over 1,250 hutments being razed in Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd. About 10,000 people of 2,900 slum families live in these slum hutments.

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