Mumbai: Prayer vigil and peace rally held in memory of Uttan Dumping ground protest
Posted On: 06/10/2010 18:36 GMT
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News and Pics by Ancy D'souza - Paladka

Mumbai: October 2 is a day of Gandhi Jayanti. This day was selected to mark the anniversary of protest by Bhyandar Deanary of Mumbai Diocese against the Dumping Ground Project that recalls very dark images. All the people from ten parishes of Daharavi island and Bhyandar Deanary gathered at Uttan, Bhate Bunder Vailankani Mata Shrine at 4 pm on Oct 2nd for a prayer vigil at 4pm followed by the mass by Bishop Bosco Penha. After the mass all the people took lighted candle and went in a procession for about two kilometer. The whole programme went up to 8pm. Fr. Amrut Ofm Capuchin, Fr. Ozy DSouza, Fr. Michael DSouza uttan, Fr. Fredrick Rosario, Fr. John Lopes, Fr. Lesli, Fr. Joe Paul DSouza, Fr. Vincent, Fr. Victor and Fr. Hensom participated in the programme. People from St. Andrew - Chowk, Our Lady of Lourdes - Pali, Our Lady of the Sea - Uttan, Holy Magi - Gorai, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour - Manori, Divine Mercy - Bhayandar East, Our Lady of Nazareth - Bhayandar West. St. Joseph, Mira Road, St. Jerome, Kashimira and Divine Mercy, Bhayandar East participated in this peace rally. Videos of the brutal lathicharge on the peaceful protesters was shown during this occasion.

It was informed that the Uttan dumping ground protest began on the 13th of September 2009 and had a participation of around 10000 plus people mainly East Indian Catholics. The protest was a 24 X 7 peaceful vigil and no garbage trucks were allowed to enter the area. The protest took a fierce turn on 24th September 2009, when two trucks loaded with garbage were sent with police protection at around 8.00 am. The police had come prepared with tear-gas grenades, lathis etc. At that particular moment about 100 to 120 people who were keeping vigil tried to obstruct the garbage trucks. It was a peaceful protest to obstruct the garbage trucks. However the police started lathi charging the peaceful protesters and threw expired tear gas (CN) grenades on the protesters. This was at Anand Nagar.
The lathi-charge was done twice. The second lathi charge was at Bhoot Bangla (the Uttan-Gorai-Bhayandar junction) Priests, Nuns and school children were also not spared. Women were literally assaulted by policemen and dragged to the police vans.

The news of the lathi charge spread among the villagers/protesters by the tolling of the bells in all the churches in the vicinity. Protesters in thousands rushed out of their houses and flocked at the site of the lathi charge. The police tried to stop the protesters but they were forced to retreat. The protesters stood their ground till 6.00 p.m. when they were informed that the Thane District Court had given a hearing that “No garbage trucks should enter the area and dumping ground site for the next two weeks”. The time of two weeks would be utilized to make a firm decision on the dumping ground issue.

The local people say that the Uttan dumping ground project built on the beautiful hills in Uttan village. The project sanctioned as a recycling plant is having an adverse effect on the environment, health and life of people of the surrounding areas. This has affected the environment so drastically that it has become difficult for the people to live in the area. The well and tube well water around the area is polluted to such an extent that it cannot even be used for farming. As a result of this, most of the fields are becoming barren. The emissions from this plant are causing health problems and various undetected diseases have become a nightmare for the people.

Edited and Published By Konkanifriends Team
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