The CPI(ML) and the Gardanibagh Jhuggi-Jhopdi Bachao-Paryavaran Bachao Samiti (Committee To Save Hutments and Environment of Gardanibagh) together held a two-day fast on 24-25 July against the eviction of landless poor and shopkeepers from Gardanibagh in Patna.
Gardanibagh falls within the jurisdiction of the Patna Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation). The landless poor and shopkeepers have been on this land for over 50 years. The Government is now proposing to acquire the land and evict all the people without any alternative arrangements for rehabilitation and resettlement. Popular CPI(ML) leader of the area Murtaza Ali, AIPWA leaders Radha Devi, Lalita Devi, Saraswati Devi, Hemanti Devi and AISA leader Akash Kashyap and Babu Saheb sat on the fast. CPI(ML) State Secretary Kunal, Politburo member Amar, leader of the CPI(ML) team in the Bihar Assembly – MLA Mahboob Alam, Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad, AIPWA leader Shashi Yadav, AIARLA leader Gopal Ravidas, senior CPI(ML) leader KD Yadav, and Patna City Secretary Abhyuday garlanded the hunger strikers and the fast began. The hunger strike was held near the Bihar Assembly. CPI(ML) State Secretary Kunal asked, can’t the Bihar Government even allocate 10% of the huge 278 acre land area to construct homes and colonies for the poor and shops for the shopkeepers? The Government is leaving land for the graves, church, school, water tank etc – but if all the people are evicted who will use these facilities? The evicted people are now forced to live under trees, open to the sun and rain. A team of CPI(ML) MLAs toured the whole area and met the CM on 23 July to demand that the eviction be halted pending proper rehabilitation and resettlements of all the displaced people.
Murtaza Ali, leader of the anti-eviction struggle, spoke about the people’s determination to resist the unjust eviction. The hunger strike ended on 25 July with a speech by CPI(ML) PBM Comrade Dhirendra Jha, who said that the eviction drive proved that the ‘Smart City’ projects of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar were essentially anti-poor.