Jignesh Mewani, an independent MLA from Gujarat and a Dalit leader, visited migrant settlements in Bengaluru on Saturday morning, weeks after residents of few settlements in Kariyammana Agrahara in the city lost their homes in an unauthorised demolition drive over fears of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants staying there.
Jignesh Mewani visited the migrant settlements at Thubarahalli and Munekolala near Marathahalli, and Kariyammana Agrahara near Bellandur in the city to speak with residents. The residents of the settlements in Munekolala also had their huts razed to the ground on Thursday over a private land dispute.
The residents of the settlements spelled out their problems to Jignesh Mewani.
In a video taken of the interaction between Jignesh and residents of a settlement located near Vagdevi School in Munnekolala near Marathahalli, residents can be heard telling Jignesh what happened on Thursday when people came to demolish their hutments. Multiple residents allege that the people who came to demolish the settlements manhandled them, allegedly â€śthrewâ€ť a small child, threatened them and physically pulled them out of their huts.
A resident can be seen telling Jignesh, "There were few people who came to us and asked us to leave the sheds. We asked them why we should leave when we are paying rent?"
Around 20 hutments were demolished in the incident on Thursday, police officials said, due to a private dispute.
The residents in Kariyammana Agrahara meanwhile raised the issue of the demolition drive conducted on January 19 in which hundreds of huts were razed down in the presence of police officials. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) recently termed the demolition drive 'unauthorised', and the Karnataka High Court has since asked the state government to formulate a scheme to rehabilitate residents within the next month.
"The residents came to Jignesh Mewani to raise concerns about the demolition, and it was a positive interaction. He listened to their travails and promised to do what he could," Kaleemullah, a civic activist based in Bengaluru said. He pointed out that politicians from Bengaluru had not extended support for residents living in these areas.
On Friday, Jignesh Mewani also visited Bilal Bagh, the site of the indefinite protest led by women against the CAA and NRC on Tannery Road in the city.