Turning a defunct mill’s compound into a playground cost five teenagers their lives on Saturday.
Nine teenagers from Babawadi chawl were playing cricket in Jubilee mill compound when the dilapidated compound wall came crashing on five of them. The victims are Saif Ali Shah, 12, his cousin, Suffian Noor Mohammad Shah, 18, Toufiq Sheikh, 17, Gulab Mohiunddin Khan, 12, Ateeq Hasan Ali, 14.
“The children did not have an option but to play in the compound because there is no other open space from Wadala till Sewri Naka,” said SS Sheikh, a local.
Mohammad Supariwala, 14, one of the nine boys, said a wall had collapsed last year in the same area. “Our area is crowded and there is no other place to play,” he said.
The other four boys are in shock. “Soil was falling from the wall, but we thought it was because of the rain and continued to play,” said Rubian Sheikh, 14, Saif and Suffian’s cousin.
BMC engineers are inspecting the stability of other portions of the mill. “If it is found that the owner did not maintain the structure, we will issue a notice for negligence,” said a civic official. Harshad Kale, assistant municipal commissioner, F-south ward said, “Until we get a report submitted by officers who inspected the mill, we cannot comment.”