The lives of pavement dwellers in the city continue to be at risk. On Monday night, an autorickshaw rammed into five persons - four of them from one family - sleeping outside their shanties at Kandivli. All the injured were discharged after being given medical treatment.
The incident has once again highlighted the sorry plight of the homeless. The Kandivli slum dwellers are a typical case in point considering that four of those injured belonged to a family of 19 members, all of whom sleep on the footpath. They have been staying in two huts nearby for more than 35 years now. But were sleeping outside due to the warm weather.
Chimanlal Kharvi, 55, and his family work as garland makers. Their shanties are located on Bajaj Road, opposite Kandivli station. According to Inspector Ashok More of Kandivli police station, the incident occurred around 12.30 am. The speeding autorickshaw lost control and hit five persons sleeping on the roadside.
"My family, including six children, was fast asleep when the rickshaw rammed into me, my wife, Jivi (43) and sons Vinod (20) and Pappu (19). My neighbour Ram Pujari Khalpute was also injured," said Kharvi.
"I suffered minor injuries," he added.
Giving a graphic account, Kharvi said he got up hearing his son scream. "In pain myself, I could see my son Vinod's left hand crushed under the tyre and my wife writhing beside me."
Kharvi said that though he tried to catch the driver, he fled "leaving his vehicle behind".
"The police had not even reached when I rushed my wife and son to Bhagwati hospital early in morning. They had suffered injuries on their chest, back and shoulders. The hospital gave them primary treatment and discharged them," added Kharvi.
The Kandivli police have arrested the driver, Vinod Kumar Shukla (22) and have registered a case against him for negligent driving (Section 337 of the IPC).
"The driver said he was on his way to the station when suddenly the rickshaw skidded and he lost control of the vehicle," said More.
However, since Shukla could only be caught on Tuesday afternoon, it cannot be established whether he was drunk, said More.