Civic activist Kathyayini Chamaraj recently learned that she and three others have been “removed” from the Shanthinagar ward committee, based on a recommendation of the local councillor.
The irony is not lost on her, given that she had been fighting for the implementation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment with regard to setting up of ward committees. The other three people who were removed are Nirupama Sharma, Rajesh Nagpal and Edgar Britto.
Shanthinagar residents are now exploring means to convince the local councillor to reverse the decision. Residents claimed the four members, including Ms. Chamaraj, were removed for being “outspoken during the meetings”.
Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Chamaraj said though the four committee members were removed in July last, they were not intimated about the same. “It was only during the October ward committee meeting that we learnt that we had been removed,” she said.
Stating that no reason had been cited for their unceremonious removal, she said there was no clarity on whether the ward committee members can be changed in such a manner.
Local councillor Sowmya Shivakumar said, “Though the BBMP council approved the subject in July, we got the council copy only recently. Ward committee members can be changed and the Commissioner had said so in one of the council meetings.”
Srinivas Alavilli from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) termed the removal of the four members as “unfair, unfortunate and undemocratic”. “Through CfB, we got 660 active citizens to apply to be part of ward committees. However, only three were appointed, while the other applications were junked,” he said, adding that many councillors still view ward committees with suspicion.