Nonadanga struggle – Arresting the poorest of the poor: Profiles from April 28 arrests

May 2, 2012

by Sanhati Collective

On April 28, the police mounted a fresh attack on the evicted persons of Nonadanga, who were resisting attempts by the KMDA to create a walled enclosure around the disputed land. During that resistance, the police detained 14 persons, of whom 11 continue to remain in police custody. According to media reports, they are being badly treated in the police lockup.

Below, we give the profiles of these 11 persons who were arrested on April 28 –

(1) Bapi Mondal - he works as a craftsman/artisan, making earthen figurines; he is an also amateur writer and social activist.
(2) Manindra Mondal – he works as a plumber, repairing water pipelines in houses.
(3) Purna Mondal – he works as a carpenter, making furniture, doors, windows etc.
(4) Sona Bar – he works as a hawker, buying old newspapers and rejected ironware from households and reselling them.
(5) Ujjwal Saha – he works as a cook.
(6) Rabin Mondal – he works as a rickshaw puller.
(7) Minati Sardar – she is a worker in a bag manufacturing factory.
(8) Ranjita Boidya – she works as a domestic maid.
(9) Pratima Boidya – she works as a domestic maid.
(10) Pratima Beiz – she works as a domestic maid.
(11) Saraswati Dasi – she is a Vaishnavi and lives on people’s alms.

The arrested constitute the poorest of the poor. They and their families are continuously struggling against obliteration in the urban landscape, employed in brutally exploitative and precarious service for the urban middle class.

Of the seven activists originally arrested, five have been released and two, Abhijnan Sarkar and Debolina Chakraborty, still remain behind bars, after having been tagged to old cases in Nandigram and Bishnupur. One case falls under the draconian UAPA. All along, members of the TMC, their sympathisers and a section of the media have dubbed them and other activists working in Nonadanga as “outsiders”, persons indulging in subversive activities. The recent crop of arrests clearly shows the genuine aspirations of the slum dwellers of Nonadanga, and underscores the fact that it is the poorest of the poor themselves who are at the forefront of the struggle, prepared to fight to the end to save their homes, with the solidarity of a broad spectrum of democratic rights activists and individuals.

We urge everyone to join us in demanding that all 13 of them should be immediately released and all charges against them should be dropped.

Also, an initiative has been taken to support the families of these persons while they are in detention. Those who are willing to contribute are requested to contact activists associated with the Nonadanga movement or directly with the Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee.

(We thank Arijit, an activist based in Kolkata, for helping us in preparing the profiles of the arrested persons)