Guru Mayadhar Raut's daughter recounts eviction
Odissi dance exponent Guru Mayadhar Raut, a 90-year-old Padma Shri awardee, was having lunch at his government-allotted bungalow in Delhi when a team of officials came knocking on his door to evict him.
The nonagenarian was apparently not even allowed 10 minutes to finish his meal and was "pushed out" of the Asian Games Village accommodation, his daughter Madhurima claimed on Thursday, recounting the events two days ago when she was visiting her father.
She said she went "numb" seeing the events unfold. "I was in tears. My father is 90 years old. He has asthma, high blood pressure, and eyesight problems as well," Madhurima told PTI.
"My father could not have his lunch and he was pushed out of the house. We asked for 10 minutes just so that he could have his meal, but we were told we cannot be granted even two minutes for that," she alleged.
"Is this our Indian culture? To throw away an old man who has served our nation all these years? I am so upset and disappointed seeing what is happening with my father," a visibly fuming Madhurima added.
Videos and photographs of the eviction proceedings surfaced on social media in which a frail Raut could be seen outside the bungalow walking with a stick, his Padma Shri citation among other possessions lying on the road.
Madhurima recalled how she frantically made calls trying to prevent the evacuation but all in vain. It was only after several attempts that she was able to arrange for a temporary accommodation for her father with one of her students.
She said the officials who evicted her father should have granted them time till their review petition hearing at the Delhi High Court on Wednesday (April 27).
"It is written in our Constitution that every citizen in our country has the right to live with dignity. They can't be doing anything that they want to; they have to have a policy in place for this at least. What was the urgency for them to come and throw my father out on Tuesday? Had I not been there with my father, he would have died," Madhurima said, alleging that the officials have not been transparent with them.
The Centre on Wednesday asked eight eminent artistes, who were allotted government accommodations years ago but which were cancelled in 2014, to vacate the facilities by May 2.
Vanashree Rao and Kuchipudi dancer Guru Jayarama Rao said they reached out to the culture as well as the housing minister over the issue, but both refused to meet them.
"I feel disgraced and dishonoured. Why is it that the athletes and sportspersons are granted government jobs and cash rewards, whereas we, who have been serving the nation via culture, have no place to practice or rehearse? We have been divested off our work. I want to appeal to the corporate and the business world to come forward and offer help to us," Rao told PTI.
A senior Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry official said out of 28 artistes, there are still around eight who have not moved out of their government accommodations despite multiple notices.
According to the government's policy, up to 40 artistes can be allotted accommodation under a special quota in the General Pool Residential Accommodation on the recommendation of the culture ministry if they earned under Rs 20,000 a month.
Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had refused to grant more time to Indian classical artiste Rita Ganguly who had challenged a single judge's decision directing her and others to vacate government allotted residences in the national capital by April-end.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Navin Chawla had said it would not grant even one more day and noted that the single judge was more than benevolent while granting her two months' time.
The Centre had given a deadline of December 31, 2020, to vacate the premises but the notice was stayed by the high court after the petitions were filed.
The court had said it would be open for the Centre to take action if the petitioners did not comply with its February order.
The single-judge bench had delivered its verdict on the pleas by Mohiniyattam dancer Bharati Shivaji, Kuchipudi dancer Guru V Jayarama Rao, Mayadhar Raut, Dhrupad singer Ustad F Wasifuddin Dagar, Bharatanatyam dancer Rani Shinghal, Kathak expert Geetanjali Lal, and other artistes including KR Subanna, Kamal Sabri, Devraj Dakoji, Kamalini, artist Jatin Das, Pt Bhajan Sopori and Ganguly.