Full day meeting on Basti Demolition in Delhi

Full day meeting on Basti Demolition in Delhi
Assaults on the lives, livelihood, rights and dignity of the working poor

Venue: Indian Social Institute
Lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Time: 10 AM
Date: June 15, 2006

Dear friends,

Demolition of informal settlements and displacement of the working poor have long been a feature of urban "development" in India, but the last two years have seen a massive increase in the scale and brutality of evictions while the State washes its hands of any responsibility for resettlement and rehabilitation .

Bulldozers have become the preferred instruments of urban planning and governance in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow, Chennai –as well as in an increasing number of our smaller cities. Cities are being redesigned primarily to meet the needs and demands of corporations rather than citizens. Progressive and pro-poor interpretation of Articles 19 (right to move freely and to settle in any part of the country) and 21 (right to protection of life and liberty) of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in the eighties is giving way to blatant disregard of constitutional provisions by both government agencies and the courts. Poverty and unemployment no longer seem to be concerns of public policy. The working poor are being ruthlessly pushed to the margins of the city and the economy, and are rendered homeless, jobless and voiceless by this perverse model of urban "development". Lawyers, community activists and organizations working against evictions in Delhi raised and debated these concerns at a meeting organized by Hazards Centre on 17 May 2006. The group analysed the content and implications of recent pronouncements and orders from the Supreme Court and agreed on the urgent need to expose and resist these anti-poor and anti-worker trends through a broad-based public campaign involving workers' groups, slum-dwellers' organizations, trade unions, women's groups, Dalit organizations, minority organizations, housing rights groups and other social action movements and groups.

It is proposed that the campaign be launched with a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on 3rd July 2006 (the day the Court opens after the summer recess). A signature campaign and a postcard campaign will also be initiated to build pressure on the government and Courts and to take the issues to a wider public.

In order to discuss and refine these ideas, prepare a detailed action plan for the campaign, and assign specific responsibilities for immediate actions, we are calling a one-day meeting on 15 June 2006 at Indian Social Institute (ISI ).

Your presence at this meeting is essential. We rely on you to join us in strategizing and mobilizing to resist the continuing assaults on the lives, livelihood, rights and dignity of the working poor.

In solidarity,

Abhiudya, Ashray adhikar Abhiyan, AIFTU, Action Aid, Bal Vikas Dhara, Chintan, Dilli Shramik Sanghthan, Housing and Land Rights Network, Hazards Centre, Human Rights law Network, Jagori, Indian Social Institute, Lok Raj Sanghthan, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, Mobile Creches, Sneh Bandhan Society, Satark Nagrik Sanghthan, Sruti, Workers Solidarity, Sanjay Srivastava, Malavika Vartak, Ashok Aggarwal and Prashant Bhushan.

Please feel free to contact - 9811118651, 9818205234, 9811137421, 9811607990.