‘Housing Rights Event’ to burn court judgements – please reply

Court judgements will be burnt on 20.01.04 in the
'self-organized' 'Housing Rights Event' at WSF 2004 at
end of a rally starting at 4 pm at gate no.2 at the
WSF venue in Mumbai.

We are aware of excuses for this ? judgements are not
sacrosanct, democracy allows freedom (to burn?), there
is no law against this, etc. This can-do-will-do
position does not answer the following:
1. Burning court judgements does nothing to further
(good-guys) purpose of WSF. If anything, it obfuscates
imperialist forces and sovereign institutions.
2. Burning court judgements does nothing to further
(rights) goals of 'Housing Rights Event'. If anything
it undermines the law and justice framework of rights.
3. Burning court judgements despite protest is
inconsistent with open-space claims. If anything it
confirms funded protest will prevail over other

I can argue, indeed have argued in public prose, that
many judgements housing rights activists criticize
(often in funded critiques and with funded celebrity
endorsements) can be viewed differently and them being
'anti-poor' is a cleverly fabricated illusion, founded
on 'stout denial' (promoted by these very activists)
of existence or adequacy of citizens? entitlements
under planning law ? entitlements that courts can and
do uphold. Those simultaneously criticizing pro-poor
law and court judgements for being anti-poor are
obviously up to something that merits scrutiny.

It was in this context that we had issued (pursuant to
one of us receiving a forwarded e-mail invitation) a
statement to protest this 'housing rights event' and
to call for public debate about the 'pro-poor' claims
of its organizers? position on city planning in India.
On 15.01.04 we e-mailed requests for support ? only
for stopping burning of judgements and for conveying
our call for debate. On 17.01.04 we had print copies
of our statement delivered in WSF and MR and couriered
to our democratic institutions. On 19.01.04 we mailed
again to WSF and MR.

We are aware WSF and MR are 'open spaces' and we are
'free' to arrive at Gate no.2 at 4pm to protest what
we wish to protest. However, we neither have nor wish
to have the 'resources' for such an exercise, nor do
we see ourselves as responsible for minding (or, for
that matter, WSF and others not responsible for
minding) such doings ? after all we are not in any
declared state of anarchy.

We request a view on our statement and on burning of
court judgements, now that WSF has chosen to issue a
statement about (self-organized?) incident of rape by
a delegate (we are also curious about funding sibling
relationships with other rights activists delegates of
the accused Hon'ble Justice, which rights event was he
participating in, who considers his judgements
'pro-poor', etc).

Since our request for support to stop burning of
judgements of our courts seems to have become
'infructuous', we specifically seek to know now if
anyone is prepared to support our call for a public
debate ? a debate on equal rather than open space, a
debate not rigged by funded propaganda, a debate in
pursuit of problem-solving not discourse-sustaining.
We remain hopeful of response.

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner
New Delhi 20.01.2004

previous posts:

Forwarded invitation to
Forwarded e-mail invitation Housing Rights Event at

15.01.04 Statement to protest the event and call for
public debate

15.01.04 Request to democratic institutions
(e-mailed on 15.01.04, sent by courier from Mumbai on

15.01.04 Request to professional institutions
(made by two of us at 4 institutions in Mumbai and
being pursued there and elsewhere)

15.01.04 Request to anti-imperialism platforms and
media in Mumbai
(e-mailed on 15.01.04, delivered in WSF and MR on

15.01.04 e-mail [revised] invitation to Housing Rights
Event at WSF

19.01.04 Request to WSF and MR

20.01.04 e-mail about plans for 20.01.04

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