In Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district, over two thousand families have won a long-drawn battle against the state for their right to life and housing. The families were protesting indefinitely for over eight days, gheraoing the office of the SDM and the district collectorate. Reportedly, these families had been living on government land for generations. In an order passed by the state’s High Court in 2012, the residents were asked to vacate the land. Since then, the families have been struggling to stake claims to their pattas and individual housing rights.
Speaking to NewsClick, CPI(M) leader Ashok Tiwari said, “A so called order was issued by the court on the behest of the BJP government in order to remove the people from that land.” He added, “At the time, an agitation was started through a coordination committee. Since then, the struggle has been ongoing to ensure that the locals receive their pattas from the government.”
In 2014, the former BJP government under Shivraj Singh Chauhan had issued an order assuring the families of individual housing and surveys to map out the extent of the need of house facilities and rejection of pattas. Another such order was issued in August last year, however, none of the promises made by the state government translated into any concrete action on the ground.
Tiwari added, “In 2018, the report of the government was falsely fabricated to indicate that there are no residents living in the area and this report was deliberately kept hidden from the people and was released only after the protests gained momentum.” The families for over eight days were waging the struggle alongside CPI(M), the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), among others.
The protestors, the majority of whom were women, took the task of conducting the surveys of the region themselves in the areas including Azaad Nagar and Indira colony, beginning their protests on the 1st of August. The collectorate under pressure has finally agreed to the demands of conducting fresh surveys and providing the families with their pattas. The authorities have now sent a written proposal for the same to the Madhya Pradesh government bringing the indefinite protest to an end.
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