Following the death of two women, allegedly commercial sex workers, in Grant Road area on Tuesday, the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW) has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking a high-level independent inquiry into the incident. The two women, aged 50 and 30 years, allegedly slipped and fell from the second floor of a building while trying to escape an alleged police raid.
The AINSW in its letter to the Chief Minister has said that its local community-based organisations have confirmed that the deaths of the two women were due to the police raid. They have also stated that instead of helping, the local DB Marg police were allegedly rude and discourteous towards the community members, who had gone to the police station to check on the well being of other “commercial sex workers”, the letter added.
“There is a growing feeling that police raids in so-called sex work locations in Mumbai have not been carried out in accordance with the law but have been motivated by extraneous and ulterior factors such as nexus with real estate and builder lobby,” the letter read.
Amit Kumar, national co-coordinator, AINSW, said: “Such an incident should not have happened. We have written to the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Datta Padsalgikar, as well. The local police created panic among them, which led to the death of the two sex workers.”
The police have refuted the claims and said they were not conducting a raid, instead they went to Om Niwas building to check on illegal activities. Only two constables from the D B Marg police station were sent to the spot, police officials said. “We have to keep a close watch on any illegal activities taking place in the area. A month ago, local residents called for a candle march protest against the increasing number of commercial sex workers in the area,” said an officer.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 2), Dyneshwar Chavan, said: “We are yet to receive such a letter. While we have conducted an inquiry, we couldn’t find any fault on part of the policemen. A police team just went to the spot to check, and not to conduct any raid.”