There was high drama at Campa Cola Compound Thursday as residents intensified protest while invoking the Gods as a 200-strong BMC squad arrived with 120 policemen to demolish illegal floors in the seven buildings.
At 7 am,residents of the compound in Worli started preparing to put up stiff resistance. In two large pandals erected at Midtown and BY apartments,priests began performing havans and residents chanted Gayatri Mantra as loudspeakers put up outside the compound blared their petition.
By 10 am,women from nearby slums had gathered outside the gate of BY apartment forming a human barricade. The women,who the residents claimed worked in their homes,stood in the scorching sun holding placards crying injustice.
A large number of cars were parked at the various entry points of the compound by 9 am to prevent the BMC demolition squad. Residents then distributed roses to police.
When the BMC squad arrived at noon,an hour late,the slumdwellers protesting silently till then started jeering loudly. But the squad comprising civic officers and labourers carrying demolition equipment set up camp at the main entrance to the compound.
An hour later,a small group of civic officials entered Midtown Apartments. They inspected water,electricity and cooking gas connections and held discussions with residents behind closed doors. The officials later inspected the other six buildings as well.
As tensions rose with the time of Supreme Court (SC) hearing the plea of the societies nearing,arguments broke out.
Peace was restored only when SC stayed the demolition at 2.45 pm. As the BMC demolition squad began withdrawing,celebrations broke out. The residents could not contain their joy. Some started dancing,while others burst crackers,distributed sweets and thanked God for answering their prayers by distributing prasad.
The verdict has proved our fight was not in vain. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure the unauthorised floors are regularised, said 47-year old Sunanda Verma of Midtown Apartments.
(With inputsfrom Sharvari Patwa)