Dorothy Fernandes is a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a social activist who has been working in Patna since 1997 with communities on the periphery, with the goal of making their cities inclusive, so that no one is left behind. She also serves as the chairperson of the Women's Commission for the Archdiocese of Patna and is the advisory member of the social wing of the archdiocese – Forum for Social Initiatives.
For over 16 years I have worked on a campaign for shelter rights for the urban poor of Patna. After we had worked so long to get the administration and government of India to listen to the pleas of people on the periphery, an opportune time finally arrived.
When a suicide bomber hit a Central Reserve Police Force bus in February, India received the news with shock and horror. Our response was one of shame.
A team of 10 of us spoke to people at shelters that give some relief to those who sleep in the open air. We heard firsthand stories of how people grapple with life on the periphery in India.
The city of Patna, India, has committed itself to creating a "Smart City," and the government is accusing certain city residents of "encroachment" to conceal its real hidden agenda of pushing out the impoverished and homeless. They have chosen the development of land over the development of a people.