- Published on 19 April 2012
- Written by www.icawpi.org
"How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry
How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died .. "
Yes, we are speaking from Nonadanga slum area, Kolkata. Our government has uprooted all the slum-dwellers of Nonadanga from their habitat. On 30th March, police and Kolkata municipal development authority (KMDA) bulldozed the homes of some of the poorest of the poor people of our country; more than 300 homes were burnt. Even the evicted people wasn't given any time to move their things of daily usage. They were being compelled to stand roofless under the heavy rainfall and northwester; they are living the same life along with their children under the open sky struggling with all adversities of nature till date.
Who are these people? They haven't come to Kolkata to live in slums by choice. Most of the people have come from Sundarban after the devastating storm '' AILA'' destroyed their villages last year. Some have come to ''The city of joy'' only to make two ends meet. There isn't enough employment in the villages, so they have been compelled to leave their homes and to come to the city to find jobs. Some are rickshaw-pullers, some work as electricians,masons; some work as maids in others house.
Are they illegal? Twenty-five years ago, the land-reform department of the state govt. made acquisition of the land on the condition of providing sufficient rehabilitation to the people. But the promise was never kept. Some years ago, the state govt. sold all those land to some corporate MNCs who are to build high-tech cities,shopping malls, IT hub and to use the land for real estate business. Ponds were being filled to make high-riser buildings.But the rehabilitation wasn't ever provided. The people who were on the verge of being thrown out from their own homes,requested the govt. for several times to stop eviction and to provide them with place to live in. But it was a far cry for the govt. to hear and one day the bulldozer started dismantling everything.
The people of Nonadanga along with many democratic individuals, organizations and students started their protest campaign which is still on. These protestors were severely beaten by the police; on 4th April 68 and on 6th April 114 protestors were arrested. Though police released most of the protestors but haven't released 7 of them who were participating in the movement in solidarity.
Just a few days back, state govt. had released one of them, famous scientist Parthasarathi Roy when the govt. was put under enormous international pressure. But the other 6 activists are still living behind the bar convicted with false charges and even one of the activists,Deblina Chakraborty has been accused with the charge of sedition and has been charged under UAPA (unlawful prevention act)!!- Their crime? These activists have participated shoulder to shoulder with the people fighting in several movements for justice, against forceful eviction by the govt. and for livelihood. These people have denounced the development policy of the govt. where the poor,general people are being tortured,exploited in order to raise corporate profit.
From the arrest of the professor of Jadavpur University for making some cartoons of the chief minister to the brutal attack on the protestors fighting for democratic rights; from imposing false charges to the activists to bulldozing Nonadanga,Chandmoni- the tendency of onslaught against democracy has turned to be epidemic and is increasing.
Even if today we seat deaf and dumb and act ignorant in-spite of knowing everything, the longlasting effect is not going to spare us tomorrow. It is eating up the society and will swallow every single space of breathing in near future- it will destroy our society. So its not the time for making condolences, its the time to be vocal and to come out with indignation. ''Which organization, which ideology do you belong''-is obsolete in this time when social injustice is turning to be the rule of the day
.Friends, we are urging you to come up against all forceful evictions which is going on throughout our country including Nonadanga. Lets stand hand in hand to build barricade of resistance against these mal-development and for our democratic rights. Lets incorporate our friends,associates and neighbors in this fight for justice and humanity.
Because its only the struggle of the people of Nonadanga which has stopped the state govt. and its powerful machinery for this long from uprooting their homes.Our collective struggle is our only weapon to defeat this tyranny because struggle does matter.
PRESENT IS THE TIME OF STRUGGLE & THE FUTURE IS OURS
STUDENTS' FORUM AGAINST MAL-DEVELOPMENT, University of North Bengal, Siliguri