Social activist Medha Patkar called off her fast on Saturday after two government resolutions (GR) were brought to Ganeshkripa society in Golibar at Khar where she had been fasting since nine days demanding major changes in slum rehabilitation policy and an enquiry on allegedly forged cases.
However, she has warned zameen haqq satyagraha will be launched from October 2 if the government fails to provide housing to the needy.
Nearly 1200 slum dwellers across the city broke their fast. They were fasting since Friday and no food was cooked in any of the kitchens in Ganeshkripa society. They rejoiced by distributing sweets, bursting crackers and playing music.
Patkar broke her fast by accepting lemon juice from 80-year-old Sharad Vast from Ganeshkripa society and said, “This is not victory yet, it is just a step towards victory. The government has accepted the demands but they will have to act on it. If proper action is not taken, bigger protests will take place. Nothing will be tolerated after October 2.”
Discussions and negotiations between the state government and Patkar were on since Wednesday but the final GR was awaited. Frustrated over the delay in drafting the GR, Patkar said, “We saw that the words of ministers and bureaucrats changing in the last four days. The chief minister agreed to all our demands but the draft sent to us was different. So, negotiations went on for long.”
The government has agreed to have two committees that would study the cases of Ganeshkripa society and 15 other societies under the slum rehabilitation authority, and the controversial clause of 3K under the Maharashtra slum act, 1971, and then give recommendations to the state government. Both the committees, working in a time-bound manner, will have civil citizens and will be headed by retired justice Suresh Hospet.
However, Patkar has warned the government that slum dwellers will start occupying the land freed after the land ceiling act was repealed. “33,000 acres of land, which was either encroached or free, is now available after the urban land ceiling act has been revoked. If that is not used for the needy, we will launch zameen haqq satyagraha in Mumbai from October 2,” said Patkar.