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Inside Worli, they wonder why so much violence

Residents of these cramped Worli chawls say Thursday's violence is not new to them, reports Sanjeev Shivadekar.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2006 23:07 IST

“There is vast difference between today’s violence and street fighting that use to take place 10 to 15 years ago,” insisted Savitribai Yesre, a 73-yr-old residing in one of the cramped chawls of Worli.

Concerned after watching that young boys whom she took care of as children involving in rioting, Yesre said Thursday’s violence had nothing to do with the cause of Dalitbut more vandalism.

"Earlier, they used to come out on streets for the cause, now every now and then, they turn violent and make common people suffer for no reason," she sighed.

The chawls of Worli have witnessed several events in the dalit movement including the violent clashes between Dalit Panther, a militant dalit organisation and Shiv Sena in the early '70s.

Today, the place portrays a representative picture of Mumbai. On one hand, swanky corporate offices and swankier flats which form one of India’s prime real estates.

On the other, there are these dingy British Descript Development (more popularly known as BDD) chawls building in the British era to house the labourers. Jobless young boys are found standing in groups by roadside doing nothing on any days.
And when provoked over an emotional issue, the same lot becomes a problem for many. The chawls in Worli are clearly divided between its residents -dalits and non-dalits.

There are some sane voices. "Reacting here on an incident that happened in Kanpur is not logical. People should think why they are fighting and for what reason?," said Rashmi Adsule, a second year commerce student who resides at a stone’s throw away from the Jambori Maidan,a ground which has witnessed many such street fighting.

She further added that her family religiously visits Chaitya Bhoomi at Dadar Chowpatty every year on December 6, the death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar.

"No one from her family was the part of today’s violence, does that mean we are not follower of that great man?," she asked and dismissed the agitations as a political gimmick by local leaders as the civic polls coming closer.

First Published: Nov 30, 2006 23:07 IST