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Standing in solidarity with communities under threat of eviction

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Communiteis along the railway line for a stretch of approximately 6 to 7 kms have been residing there for the past 5 to 6 decades. Like any family their elders have now passed away and their children have grown up and have procured all the necessary documents to prove they are citizens of this city.

Most of them work in the unorganized sector – as domestic help, on construction sites, vegetable vendors, cleaners etc. In a way they contribute to the economy of the city in a constructive manner, putting their lives at risk; yet the city goers treat them as the scum of society.

The land which belongs to the Railway has been purchased by the Government of Bihar in order to construct six lane and metro in between.

What is appalling is that when the government has such a huge plan to develop the city, what happens to the people who will be affected and evicted from their homes? The inhuman way in which the announcement was made: vacate the area in two days. It seems it’s so easy to move out. How can you uproot communities from their history, their roots; children from the schools and deny people of their livelihood. There is no plan from the government about where the neediest communities can be relocated? There is s feeling of insecurity and fear among the communities, tears roll down the eyes of elderly where can they find a place? They do not have the kind of money to pay rent; it is under such circumstances that we decided to intervene with the administration.

The administration announced that they would come to evict them on 18, June. Urban poor communities from around the place came together to express their solidarity with the people under threat. Large crowds gathered together beating the heat and sat in peaceful demonstration without causing any disturbance to the passersby. There was a clear message to the government and the administration that most people have no alternative and they will remain where they live.

The MLA of Digha constituency played a vital role when we went to meet him along with representatives from among the people. Contact with the District Magistrate was made and he agreed to meet representatives the following day. The meeting was fruitful to some extent and we have been working on different strategies to ensure that justice is meted out to the communities that are most vulnerable.

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