Jalandhar, January 13
A month after the demolition of houses at Latifpura in Jalandhar, the Latifpura Mur Waseba Morcha (Latifpura Rehabilitation Morcha), displaced residents of Latifpura, farmers, activists and supporters of Latifpura oustees today celebrated Lohri outside the residence of AAP MLA Raman Arora.
Criticise ‘lavish’ festivities by mann
- Protesters directed their angst towards Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, alleging that he and his wife indulged in extravagant Lohri celebrations even as Latifpura stood completely demolished
- They reiterated the call for participation at the Dhannowali protest on January 16 during which rail and highway traffic will be blocked to force the state government listen to Latifpura residents’ plight
They protested the “indifferent” attitude of the state government towards the displaced families of Latifpura. Residents burnt the effigies of the Chief Minister and the Improvement Trust (which carried out the demolitions).
Residents of Latifpura have been spending chilly winter nights under the open sky ever since their houses were demolished on December 9. On the occasion of Lohri, the protesters reiterated their key demands, including rehabilitation of the displaced families at the same site, compensation for the losses caused due to the demolition drive and strict action against the officials who misbehaved with the residents during the drive.
Residents raised slogans while burning posters carrying the photographs of ministers, bearing the words, “Latifpura ujaar ke giddha te bhangra pande mantri (ministers perform giddha and bhangra after ravaging Latifpura). The dharna outside the MLA’s residence went on for over two hours. Protesters had to make do with protesting at the entry gate to the street of the MLA’s house as it was locked up by security personnel and police.
Protesters and residents reached the MLA’s house via a march across the city starting from Latifpura and traversing areas like Guru Ravidass Chowk, Ambedkar Chowk and Football Chowk to the MLA’s house.
Raising slogans outside his home, protestors said their struggle would go on until their demands were met. They also reiterated the call for participation at the Dhannowali protest on January 16 during which rail and highway traffic will be blocked for four hours. While Latifpura residents have been braving the intense cold wave in the open, much anger was also witnessed among residents and protesters against the extravagant Lohri celebrations of the CM with his wife even as Latifpura lay demolished. Similar angst was also directed against ministers for their Lohri celebrations, oblivious to the pain of Latifpura.