There is a fence now that is being erected around the Ejipura slum. Families who remain without shelter skirt the perimeter of the property, which now has a clear sign of ownership on the fence. Soon one won’t be able to peer inside or go inside at all. Inside all that remains is a church, a Christian shrine, and the water tank.
The families who resided in these slums took pride in their homes. They may have been landless and poor, but they made their homes beautiful with paint on the walls, paintings inside, and gardens that fed the family and produced flowers to beautify the space. Many of these families had pets from dogs to cats to fish to birds. But this community has been broken. People don’t know where their neighbors have gone. Some don’t even know where family members are now.
The situation has not changed much: people still need water, food, clothing, and most importantly a more permanent home. After that some project to help people generate income, some kind of livelihood-building project will be needed.
There is much work to be done. The people who are organizing relief work in Ejipura are not an NGO. Most people are students or workers who are volunteering their time. In many respects, this is a better way of operating as it gives the volunteers more freedom than being tied down to the bureaucracy of an NGO. But it also means that people need to step up to the plate in any way they can.
Here are some ways you can help (note is a few days old, but basic information is not):
Thank you so much for the overwhelming response over the last few days. Now the EWS quarters have been almost completely demolished by BBMP via police harassment and threats. Out in the cold, many have not slept for days as they have been harassed wherever they sit or move their meagre belongings, while they have no funds to pay for the customary advance (safety deposit) required to be paid before renting even the lowest cost house in Bangalore, nor even to pay for a vehicle to move their belongings.
We are trying to sustain this community with food and water (supply has been cut), warm clothes and blankets. In addition those who feel they can no longer tolerate the police repression are requesting funds for the advance to move out into small houses. People are making their own decisions about leaving or staying, but many are worried that the longer they resist and the fewer they are in number, that their chances of actually getting support to move if and when they are pushed towards no other option are low – this is making people move out faster. If we have funds to cover supporting this community through their resistance it can make a huge difference.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our immediate requirements:
*Food:* We have been feeding roughly 700 people per meal, with cost ranging from Rs. 8 to 25 per day depending on who steps forward to provide meals at what rate. The local area packed meals are Rs. 25 and some bulk suppliers have supplied some meals at Rs. 8. Also, milk and bananas for children/infants. If you feel you can contribute towards (either ordering the food parcels or financially) for any denomination you are comfortable with, it would be a great help.
*Water*: We have ordered drums of water for people, and are moving towards getting tankers to the site. The only problem is police harassment for all standing vehicles providing relief.
*Blankets:* Last night we received around 380 blankets. Still, we only managed to cover 1 per family. If you can conduct blanket and warm clothing donation drives in your area or circles by this evening, there should be more warmth to go around.
*Finances:* People need an advance to move into alternative housing and money to transport their belongings. You can send it to me if you prefer my personal account at Account number 0683101027442 Canara Bank, IISC branch, Bangalore, Karnataka IFSC-CNRB0000683
For an organizational account
Account Name – People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Bank – State Bank of Mysore
Acc no – 54047022713
IFSC – SBMY0040016
Branch Code – 40016
Send a mail to Gowruchinnapa[at]gmail.com to track the transaction and receipts.
*Medicines:* We hope to be able to get medicines from hospitals and health professionals. Doctors are on the site right now. However, we do need money for hospital visits and charges for serious patients, nutritional supplements (vitamins, iron) for the elderly, children and pregnant women, first aid over a period of time.
*Advocacy:* Write, blog, petition, share stories on Facebook and Twitter with #EWSEjipura as a hashtag, call authorities and demand why evictions have been carried out so brutally, why the police continues to threaten to throw out residents belongings such that many have been relegated to the footpath, why toilets and water supplies were destroyed on the first day and why aren’t makeshift facilities being arranged for- tents, toilets, water, compensation. We cannot, in our humanitarian effort, allow the government to shirk from its culpability, its word and pass on the buck like this.
With simultaneous demolitions going on in Golibar and Ambevadi, Mumbai and in cities across the country, a campaign towards the right to shelter needs to grow stronger.
We’re planning to set up a blog very soon with daily updates on the situation.
If you’re at the site and want to know who to give your contributions contact Vinay Sreenivasa.
Here are new articles on the ongoing situation in Ejipura:
Ejipura: “How many malls do Bangaloreans need?”
Ejipura: Only a Water Tank and a Shrine Remain