Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) criticised the unlawful demolitions undertaken by the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation (BMC) and eviction of licensed stall holders rendering them jobless. The Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court have protected the rights of street vendors and directed the Government of Maharashtra to make a Street Vendor Policy. Till such a policy is made and implemented no authority has the right to demolish licensed stalls, yet BMC, as well as other state authorities continue to demolish these stalls in violation of the Honourable Courts’ orders said AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon.
On 25th January, BMC Officer Sharad Ughade conducted an illegal demolition on Linking Road in which many stalls were demolished, materials and goods confiscated and resulted in the death of Ms Badrunissa. Bholanth Mishra lost his consciousness and Sayeed both still remain in critical condition. The Linking Road Street Vendors matter is sub judice and there is a stay on demolitions. However, in contravention of the Honourable High Court’s stay on demolition, the Ward Officer along with the police of Zone IX led an assault on street vendors which has resulted in immense loss, including that of the life of a stall owner.
The Mumbai Police has informed Activist Aftab Siddiqui who is leading the protest against BMC high-handedness that there are committed to providing 230 police personnel to the BMC for any demolition.
“AAP wants to know is the Mumbai Police a law enforcement agency or a law – breaker? When there is a High Court stay on demolition how can Mumbai Police provide the muscle to the whims of any random BMC officer when he decides to break the law? Is the police meant to protect citizens or protect the illegal acts of government officers,” asks Preeti Sharma Menon, AAP leader.
Activist Aftab Siddiqui has also uncovered that in the last 15 months more than 4000 cases have been filed by BMC against H (W) ward. Clearly the BMC seems to be misusing its police protection to threaten and intimidate citizens. It has been alleged that the sitting MLA Ashish Shelar has warned the largely minority population of this Ward that he will teach them a lesson and this harassment by BMC and police is happening under his supervision.
The BMC has a 100 crore beautification plan for Linking Road which has no approvals or sanctions, and it appears that Ward Officer Sharad Ughade and MLA Ashish Shelar are pushing this un-approved plan due to some vested interest, at the cost of citizens’ livelihoods and lives.