Social worker and founder of Jwala Foundation that provides food and shelter to the displaced and the elderly, Aswathy Jwala, started a hunger strike at the Sharaniyavas slum where the Ahmedabad civic body has built a 600-metre wall apparently to hide slums from US President Donald Trump's sight during his visit scheduled for February 24.
"This is our Our India Our real India. Don't hide Our India. Expose Our India and work towards making it better. Hiding our Indian poor people behind walls is unconstitutional," Jwala wrote on her Facebook post on day two of her ongoing hunger strike.
Her demands include rehabilitation for the people residing in the slums for decades. Proper housing by the government is what she is seeking.
Jwala went live on Facebook from the Sharaniyavas slum.
Speaking to The Logical Indian Jwala said, "If I am not arrested, I will be sitting right here on Monday when Trump's convoy passes by."
"I read in the newspapers that the Gujarat government has built a wall to hide the slum. I was shocked about this and decided to come and meet the slum-dwellers and support them with my hunger strike," she said.
"I met and talked to these people and learnt that they are scared by the police so I am here to support them. What the government is doing is nothing short of atrocity against slum-dwellers," she added while going on the hunger strike in a tiny corner of the newly built wall.
On being asked what brought her all the way from Kerala to Ahmedabad, she said 'humanity' and added that her "work is dedicated towards the people of India." She refused to limit it to one particular state.
"Instead of hiding our poverty, why not work on its complete removal?" she asked.
With US President Donald Trump's maiden visit to India just weeks away, preparations are on in full swing in Ahmedabad. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is building a wall along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge, purportedly to hide the slums in the area from the President's view.
The civic body is building a six to seven feet high and over half a kilometre long wall.
Over 500 'katccha' houses with a population of 2,500 are part of the Saraniyavaas slum area.
Expressing her frustration over the absence of local organization's support in her endeavour, Jwala said, "I was the only one standing beside the helpless people (residents of the slum). Nobody else came forward."
Jwala was arrested by the police on Tuesday. The police denied her permission to continue her strike and threatened to remand her if she didn't call it off.
On her way back to Kerala, Jwala says she will lend her support to the people of the Sharaniyavas slum by spreading news of their plight wherever she can.
Also Read: Gujarat: 45 Families In Ahmedabad Slum Served Eviction Notices Ahead Of US President Donald Trump's Visit