Mumbai | 29 June: Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) strongly condemns the rape of a woman environment activist by five men who were apparently aggrieved by the woman’s complaint about destruction of mangroves.
GBGBA is also shocked to know the callousness of the Mumbai Police department who didn’t take immediate steps which would have avoided such a heinous crime.
Generally, every informal settlement in Mumbai has a strong and active nexus of slumlords and local police which is involved in illegal selling of govt. and private plots to poor working class of the city to construct their dwellings. This nexus controls water and electricity supply. Sell plots by cutting trees of mangroves and fill the marshy land by filling debris. Members of this nexus also harass the women living in the community and in nearby areas physically and sexually. This nexus takes full advantage of the helplessness of poor working class of the city who due to the unavailability of cheaper housing option fall prey to slumlords. Slumlords control areas far away from the sight of the city-mainly marshy areas and only allows construction of a hut when they are paid some money. Police is directly involved in this.
Several activists GBGBA have in past made complaints to local police station of their respective areas complaining cutting mangroves, public consumption of hooch, harassment of women and so on only to be returned with hollow assurance.
There will be considerable fall in the number of crimes in Mumbai if such nexuses are systematically brought down.
Uday Mohite Punam Kannojiya Jamil Akhtar Bilal Khan Medha Patkar