At Baiganwadi in Govandi’s Shivaji Nagar area, a man on Wednesday threw stones at a police team that asked him to stay indoors. This comes two days after nearly 30 people attacked personnel of the Shivaji Nagar police for asking them to do the same.
The Mumbai Police has been facing a challenge in keeping people in Shivaji Nagar home. According to local residents and the police, with majority of the population living in slums and everyone at home, there is not enough place to for all to stay indoors, forcing people to step out.
In addition to the local police, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and a special unit from the Mumbai Police headquarters have been posted for crowd control at Shivaji Nagar.
Around 6.30 pm on Wednesday, when a police team was patrolling, a constable spotted a group of people assembled near road 14 at Bainganwadi and started shouting at the people to return home.
“While most returned home, a man started shouting – ‘kisike baap ka rasta nahin hain, police ko hume hatane ka adhikaar nahin hain… Tum log niklo yahan se (No one owns the road, the police cannot ask us to go home… they should leave),” an officer said.
As the police team charged towards him, the man started running. “When the police team started chasing him, the man threw stones at them. One of the stones hit a constable on the knee. The team then asked local residents to stop the man. The locals eventually overpowered the person and beat him up,” the officer added.
The man turned out to be a rickshaw driver, Mohammad Shah (41), a resident of Baiganwadi. The police first took him to a local hospital and later arrested him for obstructing a public servant from performing duty.
On Sunday, around 30 people had attacked a police team, also in Bainganwadi. Five persons have been arrested in the case so far. On Monday, a double murder was reported in the area over a past dispute in which six persons were named as accused.
Dr Rama Shyam, programme director of Adolescents and Youth Programme at NGO Sneha, said, “People stepping out of their houses in this area is an issue. Space is at a premium. Ten to 15 zari workers rent one room to sleep, as they work in shifts. Now, all of them are forced to be together.”
She added, “Apart from this, temperatures are rising and people are irritated… with fights being reported in houses. Also, many people think that they don’t need to fear COVID-19, as life and death is in the hands of the almighty.”
An IPS officer said, “Apart from the local police, we have SRPF and a special unit from the headquarters to monitor these areas. This is a red zone and people have sucummed to the virus.”
“But since it is Ramzan, we have kept vegetable and fruits shops open from 10 am to 3 pm. Yet, people come out in the evenings to purchase things. We have been spending a lot of energy in ensuring that people stay indoors.”
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