Patkar-led slum dwellers storm Adarsh, demand demolition

Over 200 slum dwellers and members of the Ghar Bachao Andolan led by activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday forcibly entered the 31-storey Adarsh building at Cuffe Parade in Mumbai. The protesters said they would not budge till the state government orders demolition of the building.

Most of the protesters were residents of Ganesh Krupa Society in the Golibar area of Santacruz (East) where slums are being demolished since January 20 for a contentious redevelopment project under the SRA scheme.

Calling Adarsh ''a symbol of corruption in the Indian governance system'', Patkar said that instead of destroying the houses of these poor people in the guise of redevelopment, the government and police should demolish the ''illegal'' Adarsh Housing Society building, which has been in the eye of a scandal for some time now.

''People living in Koliwadas and slum settlements are the oldest inhabitants of the city. But they are now being thrown out of their houses without the slightest consideration. Under the pretext of redevelopment, large tracts of land are being parcelled out to private builders,'' said Patkar, adding that the government was purposely delaying execution of the demolition order from the ministry of environment and forests.

"On the one hand, the authorities are quick to render us homeless and on the other, here is a building constructed in blatant violation of rules. We are going to stay here till we are given justice," said Patkar.

The ruckus started around 4.30 pm. As there were many women among the protestors, the few policemen and security guards of the society could only remain mere spectators when the protestors broke the society gate and surged inside.