Mumbai: Hawkers rough up BMC official who came to tear down illegal shops

Aug 05, 2017, 13:55 IST | A Correspondent

He came to tear down their illegal shops, so they tore his shirt. This is the logic hawkers seemed to apply while roughing up assistant municipal commissioner of K-East ward Andheri and a few police officers

Devendra Jain, asst commissioner
Devendra Jain, asst commissioner

He came to tear down their illegal shops, so they tore his shirt. This is the logic several hawkers seemed to apply while roughing up Devendra Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of the K-East ward (Andheri) and a few police officers.

The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, when a civic demolition team of K-West ward was taking action against illegal hawkers below the Western Express Highway (WEH) Metro station. According to the civic officials, Jain was heading the team when suddenly, some of the hawkers started pushing police personnel who were present to help BMC. It got ugly from there. Many of the hawkers rounded up Jain and other civic staff and started beating them.

Video viral
Jain was assaulted badly and his clothes were torn. A video of whole the incident has gone viral on social media. Speaking to mid-day Jain said, "When some of the hawkers cornered a police constable, I intervened to protect him. Within minutes, many more of them cornered and attacked us. Due to the fight, six of our staff were injured."

He added, "We have registered an FIR against these people, and the police has arrested three accused. In the last three days, our staff has been attacked thrice by hawkers and miscreants."

mid-day has a copy of FIR, in which Mohammad Arif Chunawala, Charan Jeet Yadav and Ajgar Ali have been booked under Sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Assault syndicate
A senior civic official from the ward said, "There is a syndicate behind these hawkers. They pay money to some anti-social elements for their protection. As part of their strategy, when BMC staff reaches the spot [for demolition] they round them up and instigate people around them and start attacking."

He added, "On Friday also, hawkers and shopkeeper who have illegal extensions attacked us at Marol-Maroshi Road. We were taking action against the unauthorised addition in shops."

Beaten up before too
Jain is known for his stern style of action against hawkers. In 2012, he took out continuous drives against hawkers on the western side of the Dadar station. He managed to control the menace at some level. However, during the action, one hawker died of a heart attack. This had led to furore among politicians and citizens. After the incident, Jain was transferred to the P-North (Malad) Ward.

Due to his recent action against illegal hawkers, corporators from K-East ward had also complained against Jain in the general body meeting. They'd alleged that he does not listen to public representatives and takes action at will.

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