Residents of Banbhalpura to protest to save bastis  


In Banbhalpur basti in Haldwani town of Uttarkhand, residents are waging a resolute battle to protect their bastis. A candle march was launched comprising local residents and activists of progressive organisations. Strong solidarity was offered by the Socialist groups to the working and toiling people.

On 27th December a joint meeting was held by Socialist groups .Over a thousand people thronged the streets, on Line no 17 in Banbhalpura and line no 1 on Chorgaliya road. In great numbers women, children, youth and intellectuals participated.

In 2016 the Uttarakhand government had issued later asserting the right of the residents to secure their basti. On 20th January a meeting will be held to resolve the issue. In the meeting residents of of Dholak or Gafur basti, Chirag Ali Shah, Indra Nagar Purvi, Indiranagar A, Indira Nagar Paschimi B, will be  present.

A very strong link has been established by the progressive organisations and the basti of Banbhalpura with the residents willing to integrate in any pro-welfare activity. Basti Bachao Sanghatana Babhulpura attached to Krantikari Lok Adhikar Sanghatana, Pragatishee; Mahila Ekta Kendra and Parivartanakami Chtra Sanghatana mobilised over 1000 persons.

On 30th December in Haridwar in Biyechayal sector 4 a rally was conducted burning effigies of the government of Uttarakhand,protesting uprooting Bastis in Haldrani.Apart from raising slogans to defend bastis issues of house tax ,electricity, bill, and water were raised and how the railways attempted to procure the land., without any justified sanction. The high court issued a notice for the railways to claim 78 acres of land and displace 4365 persons. Residents expressed their grave situation whereby not only would they be deprived of homes but even the education of their children was threatened. Participating groups were Pragatisheel Mahila Ekta Kendra,Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra,Krantikari Lok Adhikar Sanghatana ,Raja Biscuit Mazdoor Sanghatana,Siemens workers Union and Bhel Mazdoor trade Union. Around 1000 persons participated .

Most admirable to witness such resilience and political awareness of the inhabitants of Banbhalpura and Haldrani in confronting the autocratic measures of the administration. Very positive unity of democratic forces and link with people’s movement. A convention has been planned on January 3rd on this issue.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around India

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