In a bid to stop the demolition in the Ganeshkripa society in Khar, social activist Medha Patkar along with some local residents went on an indefinite hunger strike in the Kherwadi police station on Friday. The demolition was halted for the day at 4 pm after 18 houses were demolished.
Police detained Patkar at the Kherwadi police station on Friday while she was on her way with social activist Vivek Pandit to meet the CM. The hunger strike commenced thence. Patkar was later released from the station.
“We were asked to wait at Sahyadri to meet the CM but he avoided talking to us,” said Pandit.
“The CM had earlier told us that the Golibar project and all other 3K projects are under scrutiny and assured us that no action would be taken until investigations ended. How can they continue to demolish illegally when investigations are still ongoing?” Pandit added.
Authorities say that the demolition drive targeting 72 houses in the society, meant to end on Friday, will be extended to Saturday.
“We aimed at demolishing 40-50 houses today but had to stop due to the hunger strike. We have asked for police protection on Saturday,” said Padmakar Rokde, deputy collector, removal and encroachment.
Meanwhile the 12 residents detained on Thursday have been sent to judicial custody till June 2, and have a complaint for injuring a government servant lodged against them for, said Prashant Bagade, senior police inspector, Nirmal Nagar police station.
“The accused injured police staff including me and resisted demolition. Action will be taken accordingly,” he added.
Nearly 70 protestors were detained at the Kherwadi and Nirmal Nagar police stations, although they were released later in the evening.
‘Scrap Maharashtra slum act’
Medha Patkar went on an indefinite hunger strike from Friday demanding that the government scrap the controversial law 3K under the Maharashtra Slum act, investigate all 3K projects, implement Rajiv Awaas Yojana and make sure that SRA cases are investigated properly.
“We had heard that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has a clean, corruption-free image and hence had many expectations from him. But now we feel that only expectations won’t help, as they don’t listen to the common man. So we will continue fasting and protesting indefinitely till our demands are heard,” said Patkar.