COVID-19: Environmental Activist Afroz Shah's tweet on harassment by cops goes viral
Environmental activist Afroz Shah's tweet on the harassment he faced goes viral on social media; he says the cops took him to the Tilak Nagar police station, made him wait for two hours and threatened to register an FIR
Environmentalists from across the city have decided to stop working for the migrants after activist Afroz Shah, know for his Versova Beach clean-up initiative, tweeted on Tuesday night alleging that the Tilak Nagar cops harassed him for doing the same.
Shah in his tweet said, "Harassed for 2 hours by Tilak Nagar police. Taken to the police station. Let off by saying please leave. Suspending all my activities to help the poorest of the poor. Sorry migrants — the system doesn't allow me to work for you. Broken heart. Broken soul. I cry and I am in pain."
The truck in which Shah ferries migrants
Since the lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of Coronavirus, Shah has been helping those in need by providing food and essential items. Since the last nine days, he has been distributing food among the migrant workers walking back home on foot via the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. After providing food to the migrants waiting at Kalyan Shil phata on Tuesday, Shah entered Mumbai via the Mulund toll plaza when he saw another group of workers waiting there. He offered to drop them where they were heading in his pick-up truck.
Speaking to mid-day, Shah said, "These people were walking towards Byculla and as it is very far from Mulund, I decided to ferry them in my truck. After dropping them at Byculla I found another group walking towards Ghatkopar to board a bus, which would take them to their hometown. Again, as the journey from Byculla to Ghatkopar was a long one, I decided to drop them off there. Is helping these poor migrant workers a crime? When I reached Ghatkopar, the cops stopped me just before Tilak Nagar and behaved in a very bad manner. It seemed as if I had committed some crime."
Shah tried to explain to the cops that he was doing social work but they were not ready to listen and even threatened to take action against him.
"They took me to the Tilak Nagar police station and said they would register an FIR but none of them were ready to tell me what my crime was. Later, they took me back to the location and asked me to leave. Their behaviour was just not acceptable despite knowing that I was trying to help the migrants. Today Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh got in touch with me and asked me to give a statement mentioning the sequence of the events. He assured that appropriate action would be taken against those who harassed me," said Shah.
When contacted, Mumbai Police spokesperson Pranay Ashok and DCP Shashikumar Mina were unavailable for comment.
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