Skip to main content

Mumbai slum-dwelling women face "greater risk" to their safety and security compared to other sections

By Our Representative
A meeting organised by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan on the occasion of the International Women’s Day revealed how even in Mumbai, known for being the country’s most women friendly city, women’s safety and well-being depends on the area in the city they occupy and the kind of material structures they live in.
Testimonies at the meeting, attended by around 100 women from several slum pockets in Mumbai, revealed that lives of women in these settlements are several times worse off than that of their counterparts from the upper classes who live in regularised buildings.
Not only do the former have to shoulder the burden of arranging for basic amenities like water, unavailable at their door-steps, they must also deal with ever-present threats demolition and the sexual abuse and molestations that follow.
“When our homes are evicted without notice, we are left on the roads, with no toilet facility,” said Sushila Gulab Kale, a resident of Jai Ambe Nagar slum located in Govandi. “It puts our safety at risk in several ways, including possibilities of sexual molestation”, she said at the meeting. Those who gave testimonies also came from Sathe Nagar, Mandala, Bheemchhaya and Sanjay Nagar.
Fatima, spoke of the perils pregnant women have to face. “My daughter gave birth to her child and three days after our house was demolished by the government. We spent nights without shelter. No words can explain the pain that we went through after eviction,” she said.
Working as a sweeper on sub-contract with the Mumbai municipal corporation, further said even though she cleaned the gutters and gave sheen to Swachh Bharat, she lacked the basic toilet facility in her slum. “I clean gutters through the entire day. But we in our slum, we are forced to defecate in the open, as there is no toilet. Even then, people living in high-rise buildings adjacent to the open ground where we defecate throw stones at us. You tell us what are we supposed to do?"
She added, "It implies that if one can afford to buy a house only then he/she will have a house and if one cannot afford to buy a house then there is no provision to get the protection of even a minimum shelter."
The meeting saw participants pointing out that the commoditization of housing is the reason why slum housing comes into being. The demolition of slums has not eradicated poverty but have forced people to become homeless, voiceless and invisible population of the city that ironically are also workers and toilers. These workers are toilers are responsible for subsidizing of economy at a large. Slum demolition has become a norm in major cities like Mumbai, it was felt.
A number of women at the gathering expressed their anger on false promises made by every politician before elections.
“We have spent several years seeing politicians come to us with folded hands and promise us better facilities. After the elections, everyone forgets us. The only things the politicians leave behind are words. Shall we hold the words, like we hold air? They simply betray us”, said Maya Sutar from Jai Ambe Nagar. “We get paid for our hard work but politicians only make hollow promises. We are honest people, they are liars” added Sutar.
Women at the meeting agreed, there is no end to their suffering if they not fight themselves to make their lives better. “Though we are suffering, we have not given up. We will fight and we will win”, said Jameela Begum of Sathe Nagar slum, who moderated the meeting, which took place in Jai Ambe Nagar.

Comments

Uma said…
To repeat what I have said before, the BMC's notices are ignored. Also, when tenements are provided (I do not refer to transit homes) the slum-dwellers rent them out. After all, BMC and the govt can do only so much and no more. Sometimes the slum lords protect them, sometimes a politician, and usually both are hand-in-glove

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.