Activist offers students from N-E safe haven

Aug 20, 2012, 07:48 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar

Mahendra Ghagare says while cops, politicians and others make assurances of safety to people from Northeast after attacks on them, he wants to do something more concrete by offering his two vacant flats as safe houses for students and working professionals from communit

Even as several organisations, political parties and the police appeal to people from the states of the Northeast to stay on in the city and not give in to threats of violence against them, a 51-year-old environment activist, Mahendra Ghagare, has taken the commendable step of offering students and working professionals from the affected community a safe house by opening the doors of his two vacant flats to them.

After the recent attacks in the city on people from the Northeast that are being seen as “retaliation” for ethnic violence in Assam, the community is living in great fear and many have already left for their home states.

To their rescue: Environment activist Mahendra Ghagare outside Ghagare Residency off Karve Road. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Ghagare has announced that if anybody from the Northeast living in the city feels insecure, they can approach him and he will put them up in his two vacant flats in the city till things calm down. Ghagare runs an NGO called Harit Mitra Parivar and works to spread awareness about nature and the need to preserve the environment through his organisation. 

“After I saw people from the Northeast going home, leaving their jobs and giving up their education midway, I was deeply saddened and decided to do something for these people,” he said. “These people are innocent and just because of some rumours and a few attacks they are now leaving the city, which should be stopped.”

He said that while authorities were doing what they could to assure the community of its safety, he had decided to pitch in with something concrete. “The police, various organisations and colleges are doing their bit to stop the exodus, and I too decided to contribute to the cause and decided to allocate my two flats, at Chandani Chowk and Karve Road, for students and working professionals from the Northeast who are feeling insecure in the city,” he said. “I appeal to them that if they feel insecure, they can contact me and start living at my flats without any charge.”

He said he was moved by the plight of the Northeast community and wanted to instil confidence in them. “Just because of these rumours and a few attacks, they are leaving the city and heading to their home states, but their education and professional life is in jeopardy because of this and it is really bad,” Ghagare said. “Pune city is a cultured and secure place for people from other states and it is time to show them that we care for them. They need to feel they are secure in the city.” 

How to go for offer
Those who feel insecure and want to stay at Mahendra Ghagare’s flats till things calm down in the city can call on 9766000888 or 9420666888. The accommodation will be available free of charge and about 20 people can be housed in the two flats.

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