Chandigarh ; AAP Chandigarh is deeply saddened that despite protests by members of the civil society, political parties, and residents of the 4 colonies which are to be demolished tomorrow, the Chandigarh administration has adamantly stuck to its ill-conceived plan of demolishing Nehru colony, Mazdoor colony, Pandit colony, and Kuldeep colony rendering thousands homeless in the process. AAP Chandigarh believes that the actions of the Chandigarh administration are arbitrary, illegal and unjustified as thousands would be rendered homeless by the proposed demolitions and no plans for rehabilitation have been made for most of them. AAP Chandigarh also deprecates the undemocratic practice of using flag marches, riot control vehicles, armed police, quick reaction teams, intelligence operatives to bring illegitimate pressure and coerce on residents of the 4 above-mentioned colonies as well as members of the civil society and activists working with the slum dwellers, as has been done in the last 3 days. Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh also apprehends that city residents including those living in the 4 colonies might also be under the threat of illegal arrest and detention by the police. This abuse of force and creation of an atmosphere of fear in the minds of citizens of Chandigarh is against the spirit of democracy. Right of citizens to associate and protest for legitimate demands is a basic feature of Indian democracy, which the top officers of the Chandigarh Administration and Chandigarh Police must not forget.
Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh had submitted a memorandum to the Administrator, Chandigarh administration on 07/05/2014 wherein it had asked for the demolitions to be stopped till proper arrangements for rehabilitation are not made. It had further asked that there have been massive discrepancies in the manner in which the biometric survey was conducted in 2006 which is being relied on for the allotment of small flats on licence basis to only about one third of the total residents of the above-mentioned 4 colonies. Aam Aadmi Party believes in housing for all and believes that the vision of “slum free Chandigarh” cannot be achieved through the repressive use of force and ill-conceived policies which only favour a few and exclude a majority. However it is saddened that the Administrator did not even bother hold deliberations and take any pro-people action on the several representations that he had been submitted, including by AAP.
Several volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party have been trying to assist residents of the 4 colonies in their paperwork and in order to submit their objections and applications at the Estate Office extension in sector 42 Stadium. It has been observed that the employees of the Estate Office under the Chandigarh administration have been behaving very rudely and unprofessionally with members of the general public and often abuse them and threaten them with adverse action. It has also been observed that the office staff often acts very irresponsibly and in a lackadaisical manner and without the care and sensitivity required at their position.
Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh would also like to point out that today messages were sent from the Deputy Commissioner’s office to AAP Chandigarh asking them to submit a memorandum if any to the DC. Aam Aadmi Party has already submitted a memorandum to the Administrator and believes that the action of the DC office clearly speaks of the hypocrisy of the powers that be, as on one hand heavy police deployment has been made and plans are afoot to demolish the 4 colonies and on the other hand the DC is asking for representations/memorandums from Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh. This shows the kind of importance given to memorandums/representations submitted by citizens groups and political parties by the city’s bureaucracy which is unelected, and unaccountable to the people. It may also be pointed out that the action of the Chandigarh administration is also a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, a complaint against which had been sent to the CEO Chandigarh and the Election Commission on 24th of April 2014. Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh believes that any step adversely affecting so many people should only have been taken after the elections were over, after due consultation with people’s representatives.
The sheer impunity with which the Chandigarh administration is operating, brings to forth the need and importance of the principle of Swaraj which includes a bureaucracy accountable to and serving the concerns of ordinary people. Aam Aadmi Party has always believed that public servants should act as servants of the public and not serve any vested interests and needs and demands of the public must be given their due importance.
Aam Aadmi Party Chandigarh hopes that better sense will prevail and the Chandigarh Administration will take back its notice dated 17/04/2014 and reconsider the matter afresh after proper public deliberations with all stakeholders involved. It hopes that the thousands who made Chandigarh “City Beautiful”, and continue to keep it that way, must not be denied their constitutional and human rights, and must not be discriminated against.