That a bank needs to take precautions to protect assets is understandable, but HDFC Bank’s unusual decision to instal iron spikes outside their gate has caused quite a stir. These have been installed at the private bank’s Fort branch in Mumbai.
Photos of these dangerous iron spikes were shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, with people raising concerns that these could harm pedestrians who could have suddenly lost their balance, elderly people or even children.
Posting photos on Twitter, one person wrote, “An eyecatching response to Mumbai’s homelessness crisis from @HDFC_Bank (Fort branch)”. Many others too identified it as the infamous ‘anti-homeless spikes’ and slammed the bank for making life more difficult for the helpless destitute. Some also argued that irrespective of the fact why it has been put up, nevertheless it is hazardous as it many harm stray animals.
This photo is of your newly opened branch at mg road fort mumbai, besides fabindia. Nice modern branch. BUT Why these hideous spikes?
What if a kid/ elderly or physically disabled person falls on them and get seriously hurt? May lead to very bad PR disaster. pic.twitter.com/jnB1GhSrbS
— Tariq Khan (@CuriousTariq) February 12, 2018
— Simon Mundy (@simonmundy) March 25, 2018
As others have pointed out, these anti-homeless spikes from @HDFC_Bank Fort branch are not only a depressing gesture towards Mumbai’s many rough sleepers, but could also impale any pedestrian unlucky enough to trip and fall in this crowded passageway http://t.co/Eb897CK4fY
— Simon Mundy (@simonmundy) March 26, 2018
Similar things have been appearing in London, which are indeed sad and show a real lack of compassion. However, I have never seen spikes as long, sharp and potentially lethal as these.
— Simon Mundy (@simonmundy) March 26, 2018
Some also highlighted how this “cruel” measure can injure or even kill others, especially kids, differently abled people or elderly if they accidentally fall on the pointed studs.
They may not allow homeless but all these arrangement can injure or even kill individuals if they fall accidentally.
Please remove these, goosebumps,😕
— Ravi Surolia🇮🇳 (@ravi_surolia) March 25, 2018
Apart from their total lack of empathy to the homeless, they should be prosecuted for putting up a public safety hazard – someone could fall on these spikes and die. @HDFC_Bank , shame!
— Nona (@ys_nona) March 26, 2018
This is illegal, unsafe and a pedestrian hazard. Marking this to Mumbai Police for their help. @MumbaiPolice
— Adrian Correa (@sensible56) March 26, 2018
— Sunny Chabriya (@sunnyv1) March 26, 2018
@HDFC_Bank This is cruel! HDFC Bank cant be so inhuman and harsh! I understand this margin space is not owned by any body from Heartless Bank! My Heart bleeds!
— C A Kothari (@CAKothari123) March 26, 2018
— Amy Kazmin (@AmyKazmin) March 26, 2018
Raising their voice against the installation, people tweeted out to the bank asking them to take it down, while others even urged others to boycott it.
Not just it is insensitive and inhuman, it is also dangerous and a public safety hazard. Whoever did this, bank or landlord, should be punished. http://t.co/wqsXw5L26M
— Raju Das | ৰাজু দাস (@rajudasonline) March 26, 2018
Shame on you, @HDFC_Bank ! Shame on you! Sharing this with all my friends who have a/cs with you and will personally request each one of them to close their a/cs.
— The Worldly Monk (@theworldlymonk) March 26, 2018
@HDFC_Bank Hey, was disturbed to see the spikes you have installed outside your Fort Branch. Hope you plan on removing them immediately and if you don’t, please let me know so I can shift my bank to one whose values I agree with.
— Diksha Kataria (@DikshaKataria89) March 26, 2018
— Siddharth Singh (@siddharth3) March 26, 2018
Absolutely shocking. For those pointing to London spikes, there were far less dangerous, and protested vigorously there too. http://t.co/jy4ueuZdn2
— Sanjiv Kapoor (@TheSanjivKapoor) March 26, 2018
As social media furore against the private bank grew stronger, Head of Corporate Communication of HDFC Bank, Neeraj Jha, came forward and responded. Thanking Twitterati for bringing this to their attention, he wrote, “We are having it removed and we sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to the public.”
— Neeraj Jha (@NeerajHDFCBank) March 26, 2018
This is not the first time these ‘anti-homeless spikes’ have been put up in busy urban places. Previousy, such measures in London. Back in 2014, outside a posh apartments in Southwark Bridge Road in the borough of Southwark, such studs were installed and it drew lot of flak. Not just people, in 2017, iron spikes were installed on Bristol trees to keep away pigeons from pooing on cars.
Indianexpress.com have reached out to HDFC Bank and is awaiting reply.