Hemlata Kolhe belonging to Red Cross Society has been a busy women since the police raids on Ganga Jamuna began.
Taking advise from Satish Tripathi, retired Chief Secretary of the state who runs Setu Charitable Trust now she sought appointment with the highest ranking police officers who were ready to meet with her and her team.
She was granted appointment with Anup Kumar Jt. C.P. The meeting was held on the morning of January 27th. He categorically denied any intention of shutting down Ganga Jamuna area and evicting the women who live there. Many of them owners of their own houses and others tenants of these women only.
He said their only intention was to prevent exploitation of minors and other women who were being forced in to the trade. So all the police wanted the women who own their houses is to give information to police about their tenants, as they are legally obliged to do. This notice – but only one page, not the second giving detailed information on what is to be done – was stuck on the houses of many women. Their non compliance was used to get into their houses and evict the tenants.
She was also asked to see DCP Abhinash Kumar for more discussions about this area and the police raids.
According to Hemlata’s account – which has been recorded meticulously and filed properly – the DCP had another version and a different intention altogether.
He stated firmly that it was his intention to “Close down Ganga Jamuna and stop this dirty trade”.
“I will not allow prostitution in my area” he says. He has been advising the women to seek employment like being house maids.
He says he will have their sons employed in companies in MIDC like Mahindra and Mahindra.
But the women aver that no one will employ them as domestic help once their past is known. Either that, or they will be exploited there too. As far as jobs for their men folk go, they welcome the move but ask that till such a thing happens they have to work to earn and feed their family.
“And why evict us from our homes?” They ask.
Nagpur Today team came across many ‘patrolling teams’ of police who were roaming around with lathis during the afternoon.
“Why are you patrolling this area like this?” We asked. “Is there a curfew? Is a dreaded dacoit lose? Are you afraid of a riot happening?”
They had no reply and quickly went back to the police chowki which is a stone’s throw away from this basti.
We went to the chowki and asked the lady police inspector why the patrolling. We were told it was a normal activity.
“How are your police entering the houses? Do they have the arrest warrants to do so?” We asked.
“And for what crime are you pulling out men and beating them up?”
Her reply was that they ‘must have suspected some wrong doing’ so they entered. “May be there was a minor girl inside”.
“Did you find one” we asked. “And if not, why did your patrol beat the man?”
On that she clammed up. “Ask my superiors. I do what I am told to do” she says.