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Retired encounter specialist cops are deputed to pressure Dharavi residents to vacate houses: MLA Varsha Gaikwad

The Congress MLA said the state government paid Rs 800 crore to the Indian railways for land to rehabilitate Dharavi residents.

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Dharavi MLA Varsha Gaikwad said in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly that the “former encounter specialists” are pressuring Dharavi residents to vacate their houses on Monday. She was speaking on the issue of Dharavi redevelopment at the Winter Session of the House held in Nagpur.

The Congress MLA said the state government paid Rs 800 crore to the Indian railways for land to rehabilitate Dharavi residents, but the slum dwellers were not finding themselves eligible to be part of the redevelopment.

Veasha Gaikwad, the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president, warned that the party will protest if the residents of Asia’s largest slum are not rehabilitated before the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) kicks off. Earlier, we used to watch in movies that a builder has an eye on habitation and wants to usurp the land by oppressing people. But Dharavikars have been witnessing and experiencing the same kind of oppression in reality,” she said.

Versha Gaikwad said there is an atmosphere of fear among Dharavi residents. “Many retired police officers and encounter specialists are roaming around Dharavi and they issue some or other notices to settlements. There is an air of oppression in the area. It is necessary to rehabilitate the people there before doing the project. The government should direct such groups and tell the people where they will be rehabilitated. If they are not given what they deserve before the project begins, we will protest,” she declared.

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