It has been sleepless nights and restless days for many people in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri since Saturday. A procession on Hanuman Jayanti with seas of saffron bearing men, who were reportedly brandishing weapons in open outside a masjid in the area, turned violent. Following the unrest, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation carried out a demolition of illegal housing and shops in the area, leading to political outrage. CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat, in the meantime, has been making headlines for her attempts to intervene in the situation.
Numerous people were seen begging and weeping for their sole source of income or rented houses to be spared during the demolition drive. Following the uproar, the Supreme Court of India, led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana put a stay on the demolition, ordering it to be paused until the petition with regards to it was heard by the court.
But despite the order, the corporation continued to break and turn the structures into dust for close to two hours, alleging it hadn’t received a copy of the order. It is then that Brinda Karat, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) rushed to the spot with a copy of the SC’s order. She objected to the corporation’s flouting of legal order and sought an inquiry into the entire matter.
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Not just that, she has also filed a petition along with a delegation on the “guise of encroachment removal, discriminatory and arbitrary demoing drive is being operated as a communal political game plan.”
The Live Law reported that Karat said that she was there at the site from 10:45 AM yesterday and told authorities about the status quo order but the demolition drive continued at least till 12:45 PM. In the petition, it was stated, “The fact-finding team of the Communist Party India (Marxist) and other Left parties has collected firsthand information from the field and the petitioner has written a letter to the Commissioner of Police about the prejudiced and discriminatory approach of the police.”
Who Is Brinda Karat?
Karat was elected to the Rajya Sabha as a member of the CPI (M) on April 11, 2005, from West Bengal. She became the first woman member of the CPI (M) Politburo as well. From the year 1993 to 2004, she was the elected general secretary of the All Indian Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and after that, she remained in the role of Vice-President.
In 1967, she graduated from Miranda House, which is under Delhi University. Soon after that, she left for London, where she worked with Air India at Bond Street for four years. There she protested against the mandatory wearing of skirts on the airlines than saree, resulting in a change in the guidelines. Ever since women working with the airlines in London have been given the choice of wearing either skirt or saree as part of their uniform.
Under the guidance of the political party that she was affiliated with, she joined Calcutta University as a student activist. Post which she worked with the students there and then at refugee camps during the Bangladesh war.
Karat came into the political sphere long back and grew up as an activist in the worker’s movement and women’s movement in India. Soon she came under the spotlight with her campaigns for the reform of rape laws in the 1980s.
She got married to Prakash Karat on November 7 1975, who is originally from Kerala and a prominent leader in CPI(M). Brinda Karat has a sister named Radhika Roy, who is married to the founder and CEO of NDTV Prannoy Roy. Karat is also aunt to the prominent historian Vijay Prasad.
Apart from having a strong foothold in politics, in 2005, she also performed in a film titled Amu, which was made by her niece Shonali Bose. However, she never got far from politics even in arts as the film was based on the Anti-Sikh riots of 1984.