Unhappy with police inaction against hawkers and squatters, over 30 representatives of various citizens’ groups and shopkeepers from the Andheri-Bandra belt stormed to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Zone IX Pratap Dighavkar’s office on Friday.
However, they could not meet the DCP, as he had left for a meeting. They waited for more than an hour in the hope that he would return but had to go back disappointed. “The DCP was informed about this meeting and the agenda a week earlier. If we could have been informed even half an hour earlier that he has other appointments, it would have saved many people’s time,” said Jagdeep Desai, architect and member United ‘K’ west federation.
The group alleged that police are neglecting local complaints like removal of hawkers, cases of theft, murder and forgery.
“According, to a Bombay high court judgment of May 2009, the police, civic officials and traffic officials together should remove hawkers and encroachment outside Vile Parle (W) railway station. However, none of the departments are taking any action; they are only passing the buck to each other,” said Ketan Gada, President of Vile Parle (W) Vyapari welfare association.
Some of the other groups present were the Santacruz west welfare association, Citizens’ forum Kalina, ALM 163, 154, Andheri shopkeepers’ welfare association, United ‘K’ west federation, Lallubhai Park association, Azad lane association and Vile Parle west Vyapari welfare association.
“I have filed six First Information Reports in Khar police station, regarding my wife’s kidnapping and molestation, the security of my family, trespassing and theft on my property. But none of these cases have been thoroughly investigated. Every time I check with the police, I am told they are busy cracking other cases,” said Sumeer Sabharwal, 49, a resident of Khar.
When contacted, Ramesh Pawar, Andheri ward officer, refused to comment on the inaction against hawkers and encroachment. “Speak to the DCP first and then approach me,” he said. Officials from the DCP’s office have asked the residents to return on Monday.