Binayak Sen urges ‘intolerant’ Bengal to change policies
In the wake of the forcible eviction of people from slums in eastern Kolkata, human rights activist Binayak Sen Friday accused the West Bengal government of being “intolerant” and urged it to change its policies to provide people a better living.
“The basis of our democracy is that there should be tolerance for dissent. Where there is no tolerance, there is no democracy. The state should be sympathetic to them but on the contrary it is increasing their sorry plight,” said Sen who visited the Nonadanga area.
“It is a matter of shame in which the people are being treated. They do not have access to drinking water, distribution of food grains through public distribution system, schools and medical facilities,” he said and promised medical facilities to the families living there.
Sen also criticised the government for arresting the slum dwellers who had been protesting against their eviction.
He also rubbished claims by the government of involvement of Maoists in the protests, saying: “Referring to people as Maoists is a shortcut which the state is using against the people.”
Sen had earlier also been critical of the government for displacing the dwellers.
“It (eviction) is a great tragedy and a great crime committed. It is really inhumane on the part of the government to displace the people without providing viable alternative and livelihood options,” Sen had said Sunday.
The evictees announced they would bring out a rally in the city and meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 17 demanding shelter and proper rehabilitation for the families living in the slum.
The activist urged the people from all sections of society to come out and support the residents in their struggle.
The area has witnessed trouble since March 30 after nearly 130 families were evicted from the slum because of an ongoing project of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.
- On the situation in Nonadanga – Pamphlet by Uchched Pratirodh Committee (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Joint Statement on Forcible Eviction and Police Brutalities in Kolkata (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Petition protesting Nonadanga evictions and arrest of activists (kractivist.wordpress.com)