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Activist Afroz Shah says detained, threatened with FIR by cops for ferrying migrants

Since March 18, Shah said, he had been providing food and ration to people. “I have also been travelling on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, where many workers are walking, to provide them food,” he added.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: May 21, 2020 4:00:02 am
versova beach, versova beach garbage, versova beach cleaning drive, indian express eye Afroz Shah at the Versova beach. (Photo: Aishwarya Maheshwari)

Environment activist and lawyer Afroz Shah was allegedly detained by the police late Tuesday night for ferrying some stranded migrant workers. Shah is well-known for his solo initiative to clean up Mumbai’s Versova beach a few years ago.

Shah Wednesday alleged he was taken to the Tilak Nagar police station and threatened with an FIR and a traffic challan for violating coronavirus lockdown norms.

Since March 18, Shah said, he had been providing food and ration to people. “I have also been travelling on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, where many workers are walking, to provide them food,” he added.

“While I was returning Tuesday night along with a volunteer, we saw a group of six workers walking towards Ghatkopar to take a bus to Uttar Pradesh,” Shah said, adding he decided to drop them to the suburb but was stopped at a checkpoint in Ghatkopar.

“The policemen on duty spoke rudely and behaved in a high-handed manner. I told them I had permission,” Shah alleged.

He added he was taken to the police station for registration of an FIR, but after 45 minutes, was again taken to the spot from where he was picked, and where a traffic constable said a challan would be issued against him. “Finally, after two hours, I was asked to go… I have now decided to suspend all my activities,” Shah said.

Senior Inspector of Tilak Nagar police station said that since Shah didn’t have the necessary paperwork to drive migrants, he was taken to the police station. “Initially, he was told that an FIR would be registered against him. But then we realised that his intention was not wrong and allowed him to leave. No offence was registered against him.”

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