Doing What One Can Do

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Knowing a person is in terrible pain, emotional or physical, and not being able to do anything about it, distresses me, as it does most people.

I am sitting in exam room 5 of Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, watching my grandfather bear with pain he says is worse than any broken rib or surgery he's had,, including for anyeurisms and a hernia. He has been in pain since two days ago, Friday, after a fall.

Still, the curb my grandfather tripped on was not out to take anything away from him. The sidewalk he banged his knees on harbored no ill will toward him. The convenience store door he banged his head on was not part of a plot against him. The nurses and doctors here are actively trying to figure out why, after all this, it is his abdomen that hurts him so much. The ambulance provided by the local government took him swiftly to the hospital, satisfyingly able to violate Eastham's very strictly enforced 40 MPH speed limit.

How much worse it must be to have the local government causing the physical harm. To have physical injury done to you in the service of a greater harm: the destruction of an entire neighborhood with the police protecting not people's constitutionally-enshrined human rights, but a private company's profit.

i have a small window into where eviction and destruction of homes is happening, right now, in Bangalore, India, because i was fortunate enough to meet, by chance on the subway, an amazing organizer named Kaveri when she was in Boston.

There's not much more i can do for thousands of people losing their homes in Bangalore, and the police violently targeting organizers, but i ask you to join me in doing what we can for this-- it's not often to have a person one trusts completely in the middle of an incident on the other side of the world, and so at least be able to know what is going on-- and so be able to do what one can do.

A call to action from someone closer to the events, to all Kaveri's friends, i pass on here:

(From the US, including affordable international calling as through Skype, the number is in the format 011 + 91 + number given below.)

Kindly call up the phone numbers below

Do stress about the following points -
1. Condemn police brutality on peaceful protesters and the manner in which demolitions and evictions have been implemented.
2. Put an immediate stop to the demolitions and evictions of houses
3. Drop all charges filed against the residents and activists.

PUCL's press release [below] is a useful one to go by.

For more info on the issue - this is an article which gives a lot of background. Easily the best I've come across till now.
http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/4828-hundreds-of-ejipur...

BBMP [Greater Bangalore Municipal] Commissioner - H.Siddaiah, IAS
Ph: 948068300

Sri. D. Venkatesha Murthy
Mayor - Mobile : 9448053899

Sri. L. Srinivas, Deputy Mayor
Mobile : 9243101474

Asst .Commissioner of Police Jayanagara ————–080 - 22942161
- Thyagarajanagara Police Station - This is where all those arrested are being held.
- 080 - 26341976
- 080- 22942566
- Address: 9th Main, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Thyagaraja Nagar, Bangalore- 560070, Karnataka

Karnataka Slum Development Board - 080 2356 8378

---------------------------------

PRESS RELEASE

Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

Saturday, January 19, 2013, Bangalore

The BBMP today began demolition of homes and evicting residents from the EWS quarters at Ejipura. During the process of demolition and eviction protestors were lathi charged, physically dragged by the police and arrested - all of them women. They have been remanded to judicial custody till next Tuesday. These women have been separated from their families and homes, and cannot protect their shelters and belongings from the demolition bulldozers.

The BBMP official, B T Ramesh who was at the spot could not produce any official documents that showed that he and his crew had the authority to demolish structures and evict residents. Nor did he produce any copy of the notification supposedly shared with the residents a month back. Notices which the BBMP claimed were pasted on the houses, were not visible on any of the houses. All the residents that we spoke to had not been notified and were unaware of this demolition drive.

In a meeting with the BBMP Commissioner today, Mr. Siddaiah agreed to stop demolitions of the occupied homes and to give a time period of 3 months for evacuation. In fact, Mr. Siddaiah called BT Ramesh in presence of activists and EWS residents. However, the demolition continued unabated; Mr. Ramesh insisted on a written order from Commissioners office, who conveniently disappeared by then. As of this afternoon, the police had given a 6 pm notice to the residents to clear their belongings. As of now, it is reported that as many as 500 homes have been razed to the ground by the BBMP bulldozers today. Many families are out on the streets, since they do not have the finances or support to re-locate. Children whose mothers were arrested are in streets - searching them. Women cry helpless, not knowing where to take their young and old.

We, the members of civil society, representing different organisations (PUCL, PDF, and Concern) condemn the deplorable and inhuman way the demolitions, police violence and evictions have been implemented. We call for an immediate and complete halt to the eviction of residents and the demolition of occupied homes in the EWS quarters. We further demand that all charges against the residents and activists be dropped.

Right to shelter is one of the principle rights enshrined in Article 21 of our constitution. A state, under no circumstance, has a right to go against either the letter or the spirit of this right without providing alternative arrangements for all those it renders homeless. Further the police protection of demolitions does not legitimise its use of brute force and physical violence against the weakest in our society - who are but protesting, losing their all.

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Issued by: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People's Democratic Forum (PDF) & Concern - Bangalore

My goal is to help build a network where the information and actions are both much more present and available, so that in cases of the organized denial of justice and liberty, we have an organized response.

For cases like my grandfather, there'll still be nothing to be but present, and his advocate.

Update: Report that all arrested have been released on bail. All we can do disorganized and from afar, is advocate that charges be dropped, and the destruction halted.

Look for more updates from Open Media Boston and from Encuentro 5.

Love to all.