People of Nonadanga, whose slums were demolished by KMDA (Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority), continue to face police brutalities.
KMDA on March 30 forcefully evicted about 250 families from the Nonadanga area of Kolkata and demolished their slums. The police personnel also set ablaze some of the slums.
Nonadanga is the area where slum dwellers evicted from various canal banks of Kolkata are being resettled over the past five years under the SUP (Basic Services to Urban Poor) scheme of JNNURM.
Nonadanga also became a place where many other families, escaping the ravages of hurricane Aila, or failed crops and indebtedness in their villages, came and settled.
The evicted people have been staying in an open field under the scorching sun and the blinding rain for the last one week, facing police repression, but have refused to move away.
On April 4, the police resorted to lathicharge on the slum dwellers while they were staging a peaceful protest against the demolition drive. Several women and children were also injured in the attack.
Police on April 8 detained about 69 slum dwellers and activists, including some women and children, who were staging a sit-in protest at Ruby junction area of the city.
They were first taken to Tiljala police station and then to the central lockup at the Lalbazar police headquarters.
At night, police released 62 of the detainees on personal release bond, but they booked seven activists of different groups on non bailable charges.
The seven activists are- Debolina Chakroborty, Siddhartha Gupta, Abhijnan Sarkar, Debjani Ghosh, Manas Chatterjee, Samik Chakrobarty and Partho Sarathi Ray.
Amitava Bhattacharya, secretary of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad, condemned the arrest. “It was a peaceful assembly and it was an announced programme. It’s a fascist step taken by the government to gag the voice of democratic protest,” said Bhattacharya.
The Sanhati group has urged all democratic minded people to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the detainees with annulment of all charges, adequate and proper compensation and rehabilitation for the evicted families, and suitable punishment of all the police personnel responsible for the brutal lathicharge on April 4th.
The evicted slum dwellers from Nonadanga have declared that their protest will continue unless they get assurance of rehabilitation from the Minister for Municipal Affair.