Activist Medha Patkar calls off fast after assurance of inquiry into Mumbai slum demolition

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MumbaiSocial activist Medha Patkar called off her fast late last night after Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan assured her that an inquiry into the demolition of a Mumbai slum would be completed within eight days. She had been fasting for the past nine days after 43 houses of the Ganesh Krupa Housing Society in Mumbai’s Golibar Slum area were demolished.

“Ended d fast after a meaningful resolution of issues following meetings with Secretary Housing & CM. Thanks everyone for support. Zindabaad!” Ms Patkar tweeted this morning.

Ms Patkar had been fasting at the spot where the houses once stood. She had earlier told NDTV, “The authorities have gone back on their word that no evictions and demolitions would take place while an enquiry is on into the alleged irregularities in the re-development scheme.”

Earlier this month, Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation, Ajay Maken, had written to Mr Chavan to ensure that slum dwellers are not evicted in violation of existing policy of redevelopment and resettlement.

While there is an eviction order in this case, residents of Ganesh Krupa Housing Society allege that the developer has committed a fraud by not giving them proper documents. Prerna Gaikwad, a resident of the area told NDTV, “The builder has not given us a single document. We have heard that the buildings where we are to be permanently rehabilitated are on disputed land. The transit camps they have provided are in very bad condition and no one can live there. What do we do? Where do we go? This is the only way to draw attention to the injustice we are suffering.”

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to reply within two weeks on the demolitions.

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