Squatters are selling drugs and liquor from Mumbai graveyard, says Bandra trust
The BMC had demolished illegal structures at Navpada Kokni Kabrastan earlier this month, but they are back, say members of trustmumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:31 IST
Days after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducted a demolition drive at Navpada Kokni Kabrastan, encroachers are back on the community land. The squatters have been living in the graveyard for the past 30 years. The trustees of Navpada Masjid have alleged that the encroachers have been using the graveyard for illegal activities.
In a police complaint filed in December last year, the trustees said several members of the trust were assaulted by the encroachers. The trust has alleged that the squatters sell drugs, liquor and run a prostitution racket from the graveyard.
“We have been filling complaints with the BMC and the police since 1987, but the squatters refuse to leave the premises. When the kabrastan was formed, a caretaker was given a portion of the land. But now the next generation has built houses in the graveyard. Three families reside in six rooms,” said Isa Adam Sonalkar, chairperson, Navpada Masjid Trust.
As per a Bombay high court order, issued in December 2016, the structures in the graveyard are unauthorised and should be demolished. On the basis of this order, a demolition drive was conducted in April this year followed by another one on November 20.
However, after demolition, the encroachers built a window and a door into the cemetery wall that open on the premises of G7 multiplex, Bandra. The management of the cinema hall has also filed a complaint against illegal use of its premises.
When HT contacted the ward officer, he said the civic body was doing its part and the trust should be vigilant about activities on its property.
“It is a private property, but we have already conducted a demolition drive twice. However, I will initiate an inquiry. If there is encroachment, we will take up the matter. Since the property belongs to the trust, they should protect it,” said Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner, H-west ward.