Reeling off the battle against South City Mall

Shambhu was run over by a vehicle on NH-34 near Madhyamgram, on 13 January night. The members of civil society, who were with him in his fight, suspect foul play. The vehicle that mowed him down could not be traced.

Shambhu Singh may have died but a city filmmaker has made a documentary on him hoping that the battle waged by the former employee of Usha Engineering Works against the South City Mall would continue.
Ranu Ghosh’s 58-minute documentary portrays a common man’s struggle to survive against the forces of the state. The documentary is named Quarter Number 4/11 after the quarter from which Shambhu was evicted after the factory land was sold to the consortium developing the high-rise South City complex in the early 90s.
More than 7,000 employees of the factory were thrown out and their quarters demolished. Shambhu had refused to move out of his quarters and was fighting a lone battle against the eviction.
Sambhu Singh was the appellant for cases in the High Court against the South City Mall.
He was run over by a vehicle on NH-34 near Madhyamgram, on 13 January night. The members of civil society, who were with him in his fight, suspect foul play. The vehicle that mowed him down could not be traced.
Ranu Ghosh said she had rushed to the place where Shambhu’s body was found. “The road was V-shaped which means vehicles would have to slow down there. However, the body was in such a shape that it was apparent somebody had intentionally hit him,” she pointed out. An attack on him in 2006 was led by the erstwhile officer-in-charge of Jadavpur police station.
A local goon named Shahjahan had also kidnapped him, said Ranu. The documentary gives account of an attack on his family on 24 December 2008 when the security guards of South City, on instructions of the security in-charge, had tied the hands and feet of his mother and son and threw them out on the streets, said Ranu. She said he was also the eyewitness to the filling of water-body on the premises on which tower no 3 and part of tower no 4 of the South City were constructed. She has his interviews and testimonies recorded. “Shambhu was last threatened two of months ago by the security in-charge of the mall. With his death many of the cases against the South City have become untenable,” alleged Mr Partha Sarathi Roy, an activist who had been working with Shambhu.
“The case was moving in his favour and when I last met Shambhu he told me he might get his job back,” said Ranu Ghosh. The documentary is set to be released next year.

Soma Basu

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