Friday, August 04, 2017

Man on ‘hunger strike’ since July 10 seeks probe into ‘false cases against family’

Indian Express: Mumbai: Friday, August 04, 2017.
A man claims to have been on hunger strike in front of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) office at the Bandra-Kurla Complex since July 10, demanding a probe into alleged false cases filed against his family following demolition of their property in Bharat Nagar by the authority. Irshad Muniar, who joined her striking husband last week, is eight-months pregnant and she had to be taken to Bhabha Hospital on Wednesday after her blood pressure dropped. The woman filed a complaint with the BKC police station on Wednesday, alleging that she was verbally abused by MMRDA officials.
Badriuddin Muniar, who has been on the hunger strike, and his wife Irshad claimed that the MMRDA, in December last year, demolished their house, along with their car service centre and an animal rescue centre. They claimed that they were targeted by the agency after Badriuddin’s brother, Nasir, drew authorities’ attention to an alleged illegal land deal between the MMRDA and a real estate company. The couple also claimed that their family was put in jail for 40 days on false charges.
“In December last year, MMRDA officials, along with the police, demolished my house, an adjoining shop and my animal centre. They did not even serve us a notice and only my property was targeted. Later, through an RTI application, I confirmed that they did not have any order to demolish those. It was clear that I was being targeted for uncovering their shady deals. During demolition, a policeman was injured. While the hospital report said he was hurt by a brick while conducting demolitions, they (the authority) claimed that the family had beaten him up with iron rods and arrested us. Ten of my family members were in Arthur Road Jail for over 40 days,” said Nasir. According to him, through several RTI applications, he found out that a drain was encroached upon for a better approach to a newly-constructed building in Bharat Nagar. “The MMRDA is hand in glove with the builders,” claimed Nasir, who added that their home was demolished because he uncovered the issue of encroachment of the nullah.
In February, Badriuddin started a hunger strike in Azad Maidan. Later, he moved to the MMRDA office where his wife joined him a few days ago. On Wednesday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took up the matter with the Metropolitan Commissioner, U P S Madan, and sought an inquiry into the alleged illegal demolitions. “We have sought documentary evidence from him with regard to the claims. Currently, he has no evidence to prove that he lived there. Only if he shows us the documents would we know if his claims are genuine,” Madan said.
AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon said the family wants the “fake FIRs” against them quashed and their house restored. “We met the commissioner and have sought an inquiry into the demolitions. He has responded positively,” said Menon.