At the very outset I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the people of EWS Ejipura, Dr.Slyvia Karpagam, Karthik Ranganathan, Rumi Harish and all the grass roots workers and activists without whom I wouldn't have had a nuanced understanding of the people's struggle. 

Ladies and children gather at dusk on Friday to talk about many issues plaguing them. Sexual assault is a big problem and many women and young girls are at risk. 1200 Women and 2000 children were evicted during the demolition of the EWS Ejipura quarters, Ejipura, Bangalore

The EWS Quarters in Ejipura, central Bangalore, were completed by the Karnataka government in 1991, to provide subsidised housing for poor families. This housing would be rightfully owned by residents through a lease-cum-sale agreement, though many of these original allottees would end up renting their properties to more needy tenants. What ensued from its construction till today is a continuous series of debacles that reveal a gross violation of the legal and human rights of the residents. 

Difficulties started right at the beginning with the life threatening construction of the quarters; they were continued by complete negligence of safety and health measures, resulting in 6 deaths.In January 2013, the residents faced the culmination of  2 decades of unresolved problems: a mass demolition of their homes, displacing 5000 people. Of these 1200 were women and 2000 children. 

The land that they were living on has been sold to Maverick Holdings (a private builder) to build a mall, even though this land was specifically earmarked by the government for those living below the poverty line. This sale by the BBMP (Bangalore’s city corporators) is still being questioned. Neither Maverick nor the government have provided any alternative housing option for residents, although this was mandated in earlier resolutions by the BBMP. The Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) has claimed that they will build housing in the outskirts of the city. However, there are little or no livelihood opportunities in these areas, standards of education and living are poor, and they claim completion will take at least two more years. The issue of rehabilitation looms unresolved. 
Years have gone by while the state government, Maverick, and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties try to battle this issue in court. The big players are constantly using loopholes to pass the buck of responsibility while moving ahead with this contentious project. Meanwhile, families live on the roads and pavements amidst garbage and filth under tarpaulin covers, breadwinners have lost their jobs, children have missed school as the demolitions were just prior to the all important yearly exams (their key to a better life), and mothers nurse newborn babies amidst rats and walk three kilometers away from the nearest paid bathroom. As of now no solution is in sight for the people of Ejipura. Will they get the one thing they plead for as a community: a rightfully deserved roof over their heads? How long will the parties involved fight over this case while families suffer on the road for no fault of their own?

Manju (30) lost her husband after he could not afford to pay for his kidney treatment. Like most others from Eijpura, they lost their jobs after the demolition. She is now left alone to take care of her two children, a girl and a boy who is hearing and speech impaired.

 A land measuring 11.2 square acres, three kilometers from the city centre, in one of Bangalore’s biggest suburbs of Koramangala now lies vacant after all its residents, some there for over two decades were forcibly evicted on a court order that supports the builder-corporator nexus, Ejipura, Bangalore

The EWS Quarters Ejipura community gathered for a meeting in March 2013. That day, they were promised new housing within two years. Their elected MLAs and corporators have not bothered with where they will live in the interim. Some were given amounts between Rs 10-15,000, inadequate for finding alternative housing. 

 MLA N.A. Haris (Congress), who represents the Shantinagar constituency, addresses Ejipura evictees during the March 2013 meeting that was called to share plans of new housing in Sarjapur to be completed in two years. Now, 6 years later, the housing is yet to be completed. 

John Peter (21) has lived in EWS Quarters Ejipura his entire life or “A to Z” as he puts it. He stands defiantly in front of the fencing put up by the BBMP and Maverick Holdings to keep people from the land

 Shaheeda, 24, was eight months pregnant when her home was demolished. She went into initial labour in her roadside makeshift tent. She, her two small daughters and 6-month-old infant Ayaan still live on the road. Her extended family including her mother, older sister and younger brother all live nearby.

Jayanthi, 17, was 7 months pregnant when she was evicted from her home. Living in filth, without access to a toilet or medical attention, she struggled with her advanced pregnancy.

Suguna’s fingers are crippled with arthritis and she has self confessed mental illness so she cannot seek work. She says she feels trapped and veers from lamentation to euphoria
Suguna’s fingers are crippled with arthritis and she has self confessed mental illness so she cannot seek work. She says she feels trapped and veers from lamentation to euphoria
Anthonyamma, 56, works as a canteen cleaner from 6 AM to midnight. She has lived in Ejipura, Bangalore,  for 20 years, but now uses a banner from a local church as a roof and wall
Anthonyamma, 56, works as a canteen cleaner from 6 AM to midnight. She has lived in Ejipura, Bangalore, for 20 years, but now uses a banner from a local church as a roof and wall
Theresa, 45, used to have a shop in EWS Ejipura and earned Rs 200 per day. She is now unemployed and lives in this roadside tent over a drain.
Theresa, 45, used to have a shop in EWS Ejipura and earned Rs 200 per day. She is now unemployed and lives in this roadside tent over a drain.
Tahira Khanam, 40, lives alone. She can’t get a job because employers want ‘proof’ that she’s living on the street.
Tahira Khanam, 40, lives alone. She can’t get a job because employers want ‘proof’ that she’s living on the street.
Theresa (left) is 45 and Christina (right) is 22. Christina’s husband Susairaj, 23, used to be employed as an office assistant. He was fired when his employers discovered that he was living on the street. Their son, Kevin, is two. Susairaj has spent 18 years at the EWS quarters at Ejipura.

 John, a 12-year-old orphan, was hit by a speeding car next to the footpath where he sleeps with his cousin Veeramani and his wife Saranya.

Sudifa Riyaz, 6, drinks milk on her mother Zareena’s lap under the recycled political banner that is now their flimsy roof.

Shahista (8) had to take a longer route to school, making a 2 minute walk a 15 minute one. She is one of the few lucky children of EWS Ejipura still in school. Most children have dropped out and missed their final exams. This was after parents begged the BBMP and Maverick holdings to postpone the demolition until after the  yearly exams. According to the fact finding report, “ By evicting students right before their school examinations and causing them to drop out of school, the state of Karnataka has violated the The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, which is Article 3.1 states that: Every child of the age of six to fourteen years shall have a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till the completion of elementary education.”
 Violet, 70, and her husband used to live in the neighbouring Yellanagar slum (Image 3). When that was demolished, they moved into EWS Ejipura. Evicted for the second time, she stood in the only space she had, with no walls or even a sheet over her head. Her few belongings were rotting in the rain. The new housing that was supposed to be ready for Yellanagar slum residents like her months ago was in a half finished crumbling state years after it was to be completed leaving residents like Violet out on the street. Event this crumbling edifice was occupied by squatters.
Parveen Taj, 40, is a single mother of six. Her husband has remarried. She is a candid critic of how they were all evicted and has a clear grasp of the history and politics involved.Her insights very invaluable for me and the grass roots organisations to have a deeper understanding of the affected citizens of EWS Ejipura. 
Suganda was arrested along with her child for trying to oppose the demolition. She now lives between a garbage dump and a river of sewage in a single room tin hut for which she paid a 25000 safety deposit and 2500 a month as rent
Neelamma, 60, had high fever for a week before she died in July 2013. She was discovered in her plastic tent ‘home’, flooded with the rains. She used to work with Niligiris dairy; she was unemployed when she died. A day earlier, Maqbool Jehan, 70, had also starved to death on the pavement.

Sarla (40) is an acid attack survivor, who was homeless and unemployed. She still finds joy and pride in her dog Caeser

Arul Francis, with his friend Selva who was quite drunk, mirroring the choice of many men who find themselves at loose ends without a home or a job. While Selva attempts to get back to his family Arul, a former electrician only has partial use of his left arm and leg after a stroke. He is now unemployed. His mother has a serious case of Diabetic Foot
Arul Francis, with his friend Selva who was quite drunk, mirroring the choice of many men who find themselves at loose ends without a home or a job. While Selva attempts to get back to his family Arul, a former electrician only has partial use of his left arm and leg after a stroke. He is now unemployed. His mother has a serious case of Diabetic Foot
Children play carrom under a street light.2000 children were rendered homeless by the eviction, many of them as young as a few months. Atleast two pregnant women gave birth after becoming homeless as a result of the demolition.
Children play carrom under a street light.2000 children were rendered homeless by the eviction, many of them as young as a few months. Atleast two pregnant women gave birth after becoming homeless as a result of the demolition.
The makeshift homes fashioned out of recycled advertising hoardings needed to be fastened down properly to ensure they didn't fly away in the wind and rain.
The makeshift homes fashioned out of recycled advertising hoardings needed to be fastened down properly to ensure they didn't fly away in the wind and rain.
The gurutinacheeti is a document that proves false the claim that these evicted residents were ‘illegally squatting’ on the land that was their home for decades. The document was provided to them due to a 2005 BBMP resolution.
The gurutinacheeti is a document that proves false the claim that these evicted residents were ‘illegally squatting’ on the land that was their home for decades. The document was provided to them due to a 2005 BBMP resolution.
Suguna’s (Same as 7) fingers are crippled with arthritis and she has self confessed mental illness so she cannot seek work. She says she feels trapped and veers from lamentation to euphoria
Suguna’s (Same as 7) fingers are crippled with arthritis and she has self confessed mental illness so she cannot seek work. She says she feels trapped and veers from lamentation to euphoria
Most children have been forced to drop out of school since they were evicted from their homes just before their school exams.
Most children have been forced to drop out of school since they were evicted from their homes just before their school exams.
An elderly woman wails at her condition as passersby on the road ignore her.
An elderly woman wails at her condition as passersby on the road ignore her.
A family trying to live on the road. A majority of the EWS Quarters Ejipura residents are Dalits.
A family trying to live on the road. A majority of the EWS Quarters Ejipura residents are Dalits.
Arakudas (23, centre) and his gang of friends find ways to occupy and amuse themselves in the lack of home or work. His wife Jyoti (18) is 9 months pregnant
Arakudas (23, centre) and his gang of friends find ways to occupy and amuse themselves in the lack of home or work. His wife Jyoti (18) is 9 months pregnant

Palliniswamy, 60, sleeps in a giant pipe link on the road. He lived in EWS Ejipura for 20 years before being evicted.

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