Santoshkumar Gaud, 25, works at a shoe unit in Nehru Nagar. A migrant from Uttar Pradesh, he has watched as thousands of his fellow workers have fled the locality as the police have successively discovered three horrific incidents of rapes of young girls at Nehru Nagar in Kurla since February.
“Many were frequently called to the police station," he said. "We would have to spend a few hours there, which meant we lost our wage for the day."
As young men, they were prime suspects. As migrants, they had no one to vouch for them.
Nehru Nagar's leather shoe units supply to retailers around the country and employ around 2.5 lakh workers, the locals estimate.
The police have asked the unit owners to produce some form of photo identity for all their workers.
“This is very difficult to do since most of them are migrants,” said Suresh Parmar, a unit owner who has seen is business fall by nearly half since March.