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We meet every 3rd Sunday from 11 AM to 1.30 PM at Upper Ashankur Hall , Holy Family Church , Andheri East.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Hawker who beat up activist in Borivali nabbed

Says he and his friends lost their temper because activist, Piyusha Mehta, repeatedly complained about their hawking
Dayanand Kamath
The Borivali police arrested a hawker, on Saturday, who was part of a group that allegedly beat up 50-year-old Piyusha Mehta, a social activist who had complained about illegal hawkers operating in and around Borivali railway station.
"The hawker was identified as Vinay Pandey, 20, who sold paan outside Borivali railway station at night. He was booked under Section 326 IPC and was remanded to police custody till January 19 by the Borivali metropolitan court," said senior police inspector Bhagwan Chate of Borivali police station and added that the victim did not know the names of the other hawkers who attacked her.
During interrogation, Pandey revealed that he used to sell paan inside Borivali railway station. But, for the past few months, he had been selling paan outside the railway station as Mehta frequently complained about illegal hawkers operating on the Borivali railway station. Based on her complaint, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel took stern action against the hawkers and did not allow them inside station premises.
Mehta saw Pandey and others hawking outside the station on Wednesday and lodged a complaint against them at the RPF office in Borivali. Fed up with her frequent complaints, Pandey and three other hawkers beat her up with canes outside the station on Thursday, at around 10.30pm. She sustained injuries on her head and both hands. After being discharged from Bhagwati Hospital, she lodged a police complaint against the hawkers.

Activists rally after recent attacks

Getting lawyers on their payroll and officers who specifically protect activists, were some of the ideas discussed by city NGOs
Linah Baliga

In the wake of recent attacks on activists, where Pune-based Satish Shetty was killed and Citispaces' Nayana Kathpalia had a close shave, NGOs from all over Mumbai gathered, on Saturday, to formulate a memorandum to be submitted to chief minister Ashok Chavan, for their safety and protection.
A unanimous resolution was passed to explore the feasibility of forming a support system in defined areas that will aid those who fight for public causes. "This will involve ward-wise networking with senior police officials and lawyers, who will look into matters concerning issues of activists," Gerson DaCunha, coordinator, AGNI, said.
Krishnaraj Rao, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, suggested forming a Federation of Activists Association for protection of activists. "This federation will be indifferent to cause or methods employed. Let us think in terms of having lawyers on our payrolls to take up our causes," Rao said.
Former IPS officer and advocate YP Singh then suggested the idea of having a voting blog to vote for corrupt and good officials. "There will be eminent people on this panel who will bring corrupt police officials to the notice of the public. Such officials shouldn't be involved in investigations," said Singh.
Another idea proposed in the memorandum is to use, in a planned way, the order passed in favour of the activists during former police commissioner Hasan Gafoor's tenure, when AGNI activist James John was attacked. "Gafoor had passed an order where the additional commissioner of police had to name officers whose duties were to protect citizens working for causes," said DaCunha.
A general consensus was reached by activists on the idea of an ordinance that could become a legislation to protect activists. "We should also pledge to support activists fighting for a cause in our respective localities," said DM Sukhtankar, former municipal commissioner.

Saturday, January 9, 2010



Gunmen target civic activist at Churchgate

Bella Jaisinghani & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Unidentified gunmen fired into the Churchgate home of leading civic activist Nayana Kathpalia early on Friday morning. The 66-yearold co-convenor of the voluntary organisation, Citispace, escaped unharmed although her maid, who answered the door, suffered minor injuries.
A few hours later, another Citispace co-convenor, Neera Punj, who has received threats to her life earlier, was warned over the telephone to withdraw an old public interest litigation Citispace had filed against SRA construction on reserved open spaces. The incident has shocked and angered citizens and activists since Citispace has been leading the battle to save the city’s open spaces from being usurped by builders and hawkers alike for the last 11 years.
The shooting occurred in the prime south Mumbai locality where both Kathpalia and Punj live in a common neighbourhood across Oval Maidan. Timing of attack puzzles activist
Mumbai: Civic activist Nayana Kathpalia’s Churchgate home was the target of a gun attack on Friday morning.
“Kathpalia’s maidservant, Soma Sinha, answered the doorbell of the first-floor apartment in Swastik Court around 6.45 am, believing it was the errand boy who washed their car. Luckily, she did not open the outer safety door,’’ said an officer of Marine Drive police station. “Outside stood two men dressed fully in white, who enquired about her mistress. Before she could answer, one of them shot through the iron grille. The bullet ricocheted off a metal bar that fell into the house.’’
Although she received burn injuries from the explosion, the maid responded fast by slamming the inner wooden door shut. The attackers fled, abandoning their country-made revolver near the building entrance. Police commissioner D Sivanandan and other senior officials visited the site. Investigations are under way, and both Kathpalia and Punj have been provided police protection.
The police have seized the firearm and the bullet, and will despatch both to the forensic science laboratory for a ballistic analysis. Although they are yet to establish the motive, they feel that the attack could be to “scare’’ Kathpalia. However, officials added that she has not reported receiving any threat before.
Reasonably composed in her
apartment on Friday evening, Kathpalia said she would issue a formal statement later. Her son and daughter, who live in Singapore and New Delhi respectively, will return on Sunday.
Punj, meanwhile, said that an unknown caller telephoned her husband on his cellphone around noon to say, “Kathpalia has been eliminated. Now withdraw the 11/52 case or we shall get you too.’’ The 11/52 PIL opposes the government policy to allow construction on reserved open spaces and is not targeted at any particular developer.
“Inexplicably, the shooting and threat came at a time when the issue was actually being settled on a caseto-case basis in the Bombay high court. In 2009, the high court granted permission to several developers to go ahead and construct SRA buildings on public land, once they showed their willingness to rehabilitate slum-dwellers and return adequate open space to the city after completing their projects,’’ Punj said.
Activists across Mumbai have rallied behind the duo with several signing a common statement to condemn the incident and pledge their support. Gerson da Cunha, Adolf D’- Souza, Ashad Mehta, B Srikrishna, D M Sukthankar and several others released a note to say, “The attack is further evidence of the link between criminals and the wrongdoing that is ruining Mumbai’s quality of life. Increasingly, people tackling the city’s problems are having to face the underworld. But such miscreants and their masters must be warned that public-spirited individuals like Kathpalia will not be cowed. She and other leaders in city causes are the public face of several hundred others. Let this attack inspire all citizens to join the fight to save our great city.’’

Policemen guard the home of Citispace co-convenor Nayana Kathpalia (inset). Two unidentified men shot through the door’s iron grille. The attack was apparently intended to warn the NGO to stop its campaign to save the city's open spaces and withdraw cases against builders and hawkers. Kathpalia’s maid suffered minor burn injuries in the incident
Kathpalia has been eliminated. Now withdraw the 11/52 case or we shall get you too PHONE CALL MADE TO KATHPALIA'S COLLEAGUE NEERA PUNJ

Public-spirited individuals like Kathpalia will not be cowed. Let this attack inspire all citizens to join the fight to save our great city

Increasingly, people tackling the city’s problems are having to face the underworld. But such miscreants must be warned that public-spirited individuals like Kathpalia will not be cowed. Let this attack inspire all citizens to join the fight to save our great city
A joint statement by activists

I am horrified. Women who have been working for the cause of the common man are being targeted by the politicianbuilder nexus. Those who serve the city selflessly are falling victim to the greed of people in authority
Sharada Dwivedi |

Let criminals be warned that hundreds of people are backing public-spirited individuals like Kathpalia and Punj. We are committed to ridding Mumbai’s governance of the nexus between power and crime
Gerson da

It is despicable that citizens who are standing up for our right to open spaces are being targeted and threatened to keep silent. Nayana and Neera are fighting a battle for you and me, not for themselves
A N Lambah |