A mob of slumdwellers pelted stones at a builder’s office at Behrampada, Bandra (E) on Wednesday after the builder’s men allegedly assaulted a local and pelted stones at a mosque in the area.
Fifteen people were injured and eight vehicles damaged as the police resorted to lathicharge to bring the crowd under control.
A police team was called in to ensure that the situation did not get out of hand. “The mob went berserk, forcing us to resort to lathicharge,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Arvind Mahabdi.
The police said tension gripped the area at around 6.30 am, when over 30 men of Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), a private construction firm, allegedly assaulted a person in the area. Police said the victim’s relative is fighting a legal battle for possession of property adjacent to another being developed by HDIL.
The slumdwellers said the builder’s men returned at around 1.30 pm, damaged cars and hurled stones at people offering prayers at the local mosque.
After this, a violent crowd of protesters gathered outside HDIL’s office. “The angry mob damaged the glass wall and façade of the HDIL building,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli.
HDIL Group’s Managing Director Sarang Wadhavan denied his men or his company had anything to do with the mosque attack. “The violence erupted because of the state’s failed policies and promises to slumdwellers made after last month’s fire,” Wadhavan said.
The state has not given them alternate housing and so they are encroaching on private and government land.