Attempt to evict Sahmat from its office premises at Vithalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi


Sahmat (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust) has been running its office for the last 13 years, i.e. since its inception, from the verandah of 8 Vithalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi. The Janwadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS) has its office in the main room.

This accommodation was provided to JLS and Sahmat by the CPI(M) from its quota of accommodation for its parliamentary group. Due to modification in the rules for providing accommodation to political parties, the CPI(M) ceased to be entitled to this accommodation. The CPI(M) leader in the Rajya Sabha, S.R. Pillai talked to the Director of Estates and requested that the accommodation at Vithalbhai Patel House be transferred in his name as an MP while he surrendered his accommodation elsewhere. This was agreed to by the Director who said she would put it before


the Minister, and as the technicality of the transfer may take a few days, the eviction proceedings would not be affected. S.R. Pillai gave a letter to the Director to this effect.

What remains unexplained in the eviction episode is the unseemly haste with which the Director and his staff acted in the matter. What was the reason for scores of policemen to descend on the Sahmat office when an MP’s request was pending before the Minister? The eviction staff insisted that they had instructions to evict Sahmat first. They started eviction from the verandah where the Sahmat office is situated, and not from the main room.

Safdar was a member of the CPI(M) and any activity in his memory is surely not going to be run from the BJP office!