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8 cops hurt after slum dwellers throw stones during Cidco fencing drive in Navi Mumbai

Inspector admitted to hospital with head injury; Cidco conducts drive in Kopar Khairane to cordon off its plot and keep encroachers out.

mumbai Updated: Jun 06, 2018 00:05 IST
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Hindustan Times
Navi Mumbai,Cidco fencing drive,Kopar Khairane
Cidco was trying to clear a plot in sector 8, on Bonkode Road, occupied by slum dwellers and around 250 shanties.(Bachchan Kumar)

Several policemen were injured on Tuesday during a fencing drive conducted by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) in Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai, when angry slum dwellers attacked them with stones. The civic body was attempting to cordon off six plots in order to keep encroachers out.

Shivaji Awate, senior inspector of Kopar Khairane police station, was among around eight policemen injured when the mob threw stones at officials involved in the drive, and police personnel. Authorities have since detained 20 people following the incident.

Shivaji Awate, senior inspector of Kopar Khairane police station, suffered a head injury and has been admitted to hospital. ( Bachchan Kumar )

There are around 250 shanties in the area, which Cidco says have illegally encroached on its land. The fencing drive was being conducted under the supervision of the controller of unauthorised constructions.

According to Sanjay Dhonde, senior surveyor, Cidco, “Twice in the past we have conducted drives in the area to clear the slum colony here, but the people keep coming back.”

He added, “There are 12 plots in the area, six of which have been sold. We have plans to sell the remaining six plots and hence they have to be cleared and fenced. We have orders from our seniors to ensure the action is completed before monsoon sets in.”

Dhonde stressed that Cidco had repeatedly given notices to the encroachers to vacate the area. “We came to the area around 9.30am to start our work and within an hour there was violence here. Some of our personnel were also hurt along with those of the police,” he said.

Shankar Patil, 26, a local resident who saw the violence, said, “Not just men, but even women and children were involved in pelting stones. As Cidco officials ran for cover, the police tried to contain the situation. Awte was hit on the head, while some other policemen also got hurt.”

Awate was admitted to Mahavir hospital in Kopar Khairane. Police inspector (crime) Sunil Gawli and assistant sub inspector A Chavan were also among those who were injured. Media personnel present at the spot were also attacked.

Once the stone pelting began, additional police forces were called to the area and a mild lathi charge was conducted to clear the group of protesting-slum dwellers. The fencing drive was able to resume thereafter.

Deputy commissioner of police (zone I) Sudhakar Pathare said, “This was totally unexpected. While the Kopar Khairane police officers and personnel were present in full strength, on learning of the violence, we rushed in around 150 additional officers and personnel from Vashi, NRI, Sanpada and Rabale police stations. They ensured that there was no further untoward incident.”

We are identifying those who participated in the stone pelting and have started to detain them. So far we have detained around 20 persons,” he said.

Police speak

Speaking from his hospital bed, senior inspector Shivaji Awte said, “I was present with my officers and personnel numbering around 40 to provide security to the Cidco staff.”

We were asking the slum dwellers to vacate the area so that the Cidco personnel could do their work. Suddenly, a mob of around 500 people started pelting stones at us. Since I am responsible for my staff, I first ensured that they took up safe positions and hence I was the last to take cover,” he said.

Awte noted that as he rushed from the footpath to the road near the plot area, he was first hit on the back twice with stones. “I was then hit on my head and fell down unconscious. My personnel rushed me to the hospital and later when I regained consciousness, they told me what had happened,” he said.

First Published: Jun 05, 2018 16:39 IST