Two hundred and fifty-nine families (1195 people) resided in sixty year old Narayani Basti (slum near Unit 8 DAV School, Bhubaneswar) till the 29th of January 2011. On the 29th of January 2011, ten platoons of police with 9 platoons armed force and DCP and Commissioner of police went into the region and demolished the slums. Slum dwellers protested and many of them were seriously injured in their struggle against local goons and police who assaulted women. The police arrested hundred slum dwellers which included forty nine women. These women were kept locked in a van and were not allowed to leave the van for any reason. On the 30th of January local goons present did not allow either food or water to reach these people after they forcefully returned to their slums. Food prepared by the people from outside (Basti Suraksha Manch) was also not allowed to reach these people. The people organized themselves and started throwing stones at the local goons to get some time to collect and store food. Dodgers came again but this time failed to oust the organized masses. The people of the slums have now decided to take up arms (anything they have at their disposal, hammers, knives, etc) against anyone who tries to come to attack them.
Courtesy: The Hindu
These people living in the slums of Narayan Basti have been attacked by the police without Notice several times before. For the first time it happened in 16th of December, 2009 and since then there has been continuous opposition by slum dwellers against any attack by the forces of the Government. Through protests, they have been able to force dodgers back that had come to demolish the slums and this they have been able to do for about seven to eight times. The recent attacks before the demolition were made continuously from the 10th to 14th January, 2011.
There are several such slums in Bhubaneswar who fear demolition and the Basti Suraksha Manch of Bhubaneswar is playing a leading role in organizing these people. According to the Basti Suraksha Manch, the demolition of these slums is illegal. According to Orissa Municipal Corporation Act Chapter 21, slums are classified as Tenable (which can’t be moved to other places) and Untenable (which can be moved to other places). The Narayan Basti slum is declared Tenable according to this act with its code being 3301 (every slum has a code). In spite of their having tenable status, the Government doesn’t even give alternative accommodation, rather, has a ‘transit house’ (about three kilometers away in Niladri Vihar) where these people will be given accommodation for 15-30 days only and will be left to their own. One can judge how the Government sees its people when one finds that these transit houses have two toilets for two hundred families.
The following is a copy of the letter written to Chief Justice of Orissa High Court:
The Honourable Chief Justice
Odisha High Court, Cuttack
Sub: Pray for justice
49 women of Narayani Basti (Khandagiri PS, Bhubaneswar) are illegally detained in the Khandagiri PS at night(after sunset) on dtd.29.01.2011. Who were forcibly evicted from their slum in spite of High court judgment in writ petition(C) No. 11667/2010 and writ petition(C) No. 12723/2010.
You are therefore, requested to kindly intervene the matter in the interest of justice.
Plot No. 1819 (opp N6/10)
IRC Village, Bhubaneswar-15