A WELL attended public meeting called by the CPI(M) was held in Kathputli Colony on December 2. It was addressed by Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member. State CPI(M) leaders, Nathu Prasad, Asha Sharma and Pushpinder Grewal as well as members of the Party’s Karol Bagh committee were present. The police refused to permit use of loudspeakers and the meeting was held without a mike. Some DDA officials and agents of the private builder (Raheja Constructions) tried to disturb the meeting and disrupt people’s unity against the PPP project in the area. CPI(M) activists, the local pradhan, Dilip and NGOs working in the areas foiled the bid to disrupt the meeting which could have led to a serious clash giving the police an excuse to use force against the residents and terrorise them.
The roots of the crisis in Kathputli Colony lie in the gross neglect of the interests of its residents. According to the DDA agreement with a private developer and real estate tycoon, Raheja Constructions, 40 percent of the land now occupied by around 4000 families will be given away to Raheja’s for commercial purposes. The remaining 60 percent will be used to build tenements, for families. This PPP agreement was arrived at without any consultation or consent of the residents who have been living there for decades. The list of those eligible for rehabilitation as prepared by the DDA is faulty. Many communities reside in Kathputli Colony. They include puppeteers, cultural activists, street performers, etc. The residents declared their will to fight for their rights evincing their belief that the Delhi CPI(M) will help them get justice.