February 12, 2005

Police Arrest and Lathi Charge Protesting Slum People - Press Statement by National Alliance of People's Movements

National Alliance of People's Movements
Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road
Dadar (E), Mumbai - 400014



Mumbai | February 12, 2005

Police Arrest and Lathi Charge Protesting Slum People

Senior Activist including Medha Patkar, Prakash Reddy Held

In a daylong sequence of events, police lathi charged (cane beating) a
gathering of over 1200 people near the Deonar police station today
afternoon. The people were protesting the demolition of their houses in
Rafiq nagar slum area and were demanding the release of over 300 people who were arrested earlier the day. Most of them were released in the afternoon, but nearly 30 people, mainly senior activists, were re-arrested.

The people who are under arrest include, Medha Patkar, Prakash Reddy of
Communist Party of India, Raju Bhise of NAPM, Vijaya Chauhan, Kalpana Gowda of Asha Ankur, Leena Joshi of Apnalaya, Nitin More of Apli Mumbai, Shakil Ahmed of Nirbay Bano Andolan and others from Rafiq nagar. They are lodged in Shivaji nagar as well as Chirag nagar police stations.

They are booked under sections 147, 143, 447 which are relate to rioting,
illegal gathering etc.

The police mercilessly beat the people, who were trapped in the gullies,
near Deonar police station. The number of people injured in the lathi
charge in not known at the release of this statement.

Rafiq nagar slum was reclaimed from a marshy land in 1996. There were about 800 houses before demolition. The police, aided with bulldozers, demolished the houses in last December. Since then, the people were living in open and make shift locations.

Rafiq nagar is only one of the many slums, which was demolished by the
government in the past 2 months. Over 80,000 houses were demolished so far.

National Alliance of People‚s Movements condemn this undemocratic action of the government and demand that all further demolitions must stop
immediately and all arrested persons should be released immediately.
Further, if the government is serious about checking the growth of slums,
stop displacing people and provide facilities in the villages, including
employment - in the hinterlands.

Pervin Jehangir | Maju Varghese | Joe Athialy