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Mumbai toxic hell residents being "punished": State govt "erasing" protesters from voter list

Counterview Desk
Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), Mumbai-based civil rights organization, has alleged that the Maharashtra government is "erasing" names of protesters of Mumbai's toxic hell, Mahul, from the voters' list. Forcibly shifted to Mahul, their protests have entered 43rd day.
Calling it government response to Mahul residents’ protest, GBGBA said this is being done with an eye of forthcoming elections.

GBGBA statement:

The Mumbai High Court had ruled that Mahul (the extremely polluted industrial area of Mumbai where 5,500 poor families were forcibly rehabilitated after their homes were demolished) was unfit for human living, ordering the Government of Maharashtra to find alternative accommodation for them.
The state government has not just declined to obey the orders of the High Court, forcing the Mahul residents to occupy a pavement at Vidyavihar near their old slums to protest against the government ignoring pollution related deaths and health hazard. The Devendra Fadnavis government has "communicated" a strange response to Mahul residents’ protest against the state government’s inaction.
It has decided to "solve" the problem by taking all dissenters and protestors off the voting list, and make 30,000 Indian citizens disappear from the Indian electorate during the 2019 elections -- as punishment for protesting against human rights abuse and being dumped in #MumbaisToxicHell.
On December 12 morning, Anita Dhole, petitioner in the High Court case, whose orders the government is ignoring, received a ‘punishment notice’ that her name had been taken off the voters’ list of Vidhyavihar, Mumbai, where she was born and raised nearly 40 years ago, at an address which is on her voter ID card, Aadhar card, electricity bills, etc. It argued in this notice that since she had been ‘rehabilitated’ elsewhere (Mahul), she couldn’t be counted as a voter in Vidyavihar.
Now here’s where it gets even more interesting – Dhole, like majority of Mahul ‘rehabilitation’ cases, have not even received allotment papers for the tenements that she has been allotted in Mahul, meaning, she will not even be counted as a voter in Mahul. Once she is scrapped off the Vidhyavihar list, she will cease to be on any voter’s list, and she will cease to exist as an Indian citizen eligible to vote!
More so, since the High Court Order states that she, like 30,000 others like her, cannot be allowed to remain in unacceptably polluted Mahul. Instead of obeying High Court orders, the state government is actually using the High Court orders to take poor people and victims of their atrocities off the voting list, fearing these people could vote against the ruling party.
Dhole is not the only one knocked off the voter list today. All the victims of the ‘government eraser’ are protesters of Mahul issue. And majority of them have not been given allotment papers for Mahul either. All these people will ‘disappear’ overnight from the voters’ listaltogether.
Dhole, along with 80 other victims of the ‘citizen-deleting’ move ahead of the 2019 elections, went to the election office on December 12 at Ghatkopar west to complain peacefully. The office’s response was to call the police, who sent five police vans full of policemen, who were then instructed to escort five of the Mahul representatives to the district collector’s office in Mulund, where they were asked to present their grievance, flanked by policemen, as if they were the ones guilty of a crime.
They met Surendra Navle, tehsildar, who assured them that if they could produce a copy of the High Court order instructing the government to move them out of Mahul along with a written appeal/ complaint letter, he would correct the problem and reinstate their names in the Vidyavihar list. Ome has to see what will happen.
The very same drama was played out a few months earlier as well, when similar ‘erasing’ notices were served, and deputy collector Tejas Samil responded to the Mahul residents’ written complaint by committing that such a removal of names from the voter list would not happen in future.
Apparently, this was a lie, and it has happened again. Whenever there is voice of protest vfrom Mahul dissent, the Fadnavis’ government’s response is to erase these citizens, and take away their vote – the only power available to poorer sections in a democracy to remove criminals and oppressors in their constituency from positions of power.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Fadnavis continues to disappoint me--I do not know how far he will go to "trod on the downtrodden"
Uma Sheth said…
IIT-B report has just come out and the government can no longer delay shifting the unfortunate residents of Mahul

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