On Republic Day, A Sad State of Affairs

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Today’s a day off from work, so I can’t complain. Nevertheless, I thought I’d “celebrate” Republic Day by following up on the BMC demolition drive. It seems that the BMC wants to delist slumdwellers from the voter rolls because, in essence, once their homes are destroyed they no longer have addresses. And, without an address, you can’t vote. Sounds pretty democratic to me…

BMC wants evicted slumdwellers delisted
[from Times of India on 1/21/05…full text follows in case link ceases to work]

MUMBAI: In a clear message to squatters, the BMC has requested the chief electoral officer to delete from the voters’ list the names of those slumdwellers whose illegal shanties have been razed in the ongoing demolition drive.

According to BMC estimates, 70,000 slum families have been forcibly evicted from the areas they were occupying which had been reserved for various public amenities. “If the BMC can prove it, we are looking at more than one lakh slumdwellers losing their right to vote,” said government sources.

“Senior municipal officers have already informed me orally about this,” chief electoral officer U P S Madan told TOI on Friday. “The BMC can approach the collector’s office or the electoral registration officer (ERO) with the necessary details. The ERO will do a spot inspection to confirm the BMC’s claim.”

A senior civic official said the assistant municipal commissioner of every ward had been told to prepare a list and inform the election officer. Madan said the civic administration would have to file Form 7, which is also available to any citizen who wants to complain about a person not staying at a particular address.

The electoral rolls contain the names and addresses of voters. If these evicted slumdwellers are no longer occupying the land which they are alleged to have encroached, they cease to be voters in that constituency. However, this does not mean that they have been disenfranchised?they can still vote if they are able to prove their domicile status.

P.S. I’ll finish the Tamil Nadu post later…