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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Desperate battle to save homes in Mumbai

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 13, 2013
First Published: 09:11 IST(13/11/2013) | Last Updated: 09:16 IST(13/11/2013)

For more than two hours on Tuesday, at least 100 residents of Worli’s Campa Cola compound forcibly stopped civic officials from entering the premises.

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Desperate to prevent the demolition of their homes, residents formed human barriers, shouted slogans, waved banners and aggressively confronted the 150 civic squad members and 200 policemen deployed.

Despite the Supreme Court’s clear order to demolish the 35 illegal floors across the seven buildings in the complex, officials,who were not keen to use force to remove the residents,had to back off and negotiate with residents so that they could gain entry into the compound.

The face off took place despite the fact that the residents have given undertakings to the SC promising it that they would vacate these flats voluntarily by November 11.

However, on Tuesday, the order and the undertakings were all immaterial and desperation ruled.

In addition to for ming a human chain,residents parked around 50 cars against their entry gates to prevent civic officials from bringing vehicles into the compound.

The police finally stepped in and detained seven protesters,including a few politicians, for obstructing civic work.

“We requested them several times to allow us inside and patiently heard their demands but they continued to protest.The police had to take charge and detain the protestors,” said Kishore Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner, who was heading the operations.

After that, the BMC brought a bulldozer to the gate to break it open. At that point, some political leaders and residents intervened and a compromise was ar rived at.

Residents allowed small groups of civic workers to inspect the illegal flats.

Residents said they know are defying the court order, but had no choice.

“We know that resisting the demolition will go against us as it could be called contempt of the SC order, but we have no other means to show the injustice done to residents,” said Nandini Mehta, a resident.

Residents said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should wait for the decision of the chief minister and the state government on the matter.

“We will not allow them to destroy our homes. The BMC must wait till the CM announces his decision,” said Ashish Jalan,another resident


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