Photos: Braving the lockdown in a Mumbai shantytown

Mina Jakhawadiya, a street hawker watched the prime minister’s speech announcing a three week-lockdown – since extended -- on a battered TV, with her family of five crowded around her in a one-room house with no toilet and no running water. It’s squeezed into a Mumbai shantytown controlled by an obscure Mumbai organized crime family. Mina knew that outside, somewhere in India, the coronavirus had arrived, wending its way through this sprawling nation of 1.3 billion people. But the invisible danger seemed far away. Then suddenly it wasn’t.

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST 9 Photos
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Mina Jakhawadiya (C), watches news on coronavirus with her children in her one room house in a slum in Mumbai during lockdown. Jakhawadiya and her family of five had crowded arounded their TV set much the same way on March 24, when Prime Minster Narendra Modi announced, “Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown” for three weeks. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya (C), watches news on coronavirus with her children in her one room house in a slum in Mumbai during lockdown. Jakhawadiya and her family of five had crowded arounded their TV set much the same way on March 24, when Prime Minster Narendra Modi announced, “Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown” for three weeks. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jakhawadiya carries a water can after filing it from a public tap. Jakhawadiya makes a living selling cheap plastic goods with her husband on the streets of Mumbai. For her, the order meant 21 days in a 6-by-9 foot room with five people, no work, a couple days of food and very little cash. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya carries a water can after filing it from a public tap. Jakhawadiya makes a living selling cheap plastic goods with her husband on the streets of Mumbai. For her, the order meant 21 days in a 6-by-9 foot room with five people, no work, a couple days of food and very little cash. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jhawadiya with her husband Ramesh Karsan (C) as they receive free food packets during a distribution. Those near the top can hunker down in gated apartment complexes and order food deliveries online. But not Jakhawadiya. Aid groups were distributing enough food every few days to keep the worst hunger at bay. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jhawadiya with her husband Ramesh Karsan (C) as they receive free food packets during a distribution. Those near the top can hunker down in gated apartment complexes and order food deliveries online. But not Jakhawadiya. Aid groups were distributing enough food every few days to keep the worst hunger at bay. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jakhawadiya, with her son Ritik Ramesh in her lap watches the news as her daughter Guddi Ramesh brushes her teeth in their house. Jakhawadiya recalled to new agency AP, feeling afraid for the days to come as she looked at the speech on their little television, spattered with stickers left over the years by one child or another. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya, with her son Ritik Ramesh in her lap watches the news as her daughter Guddi Ramesh brushes her teeth in their house. Jakhawadiya recalled to new agency AP, feeling afraid for the days to come as she looked at the speech on their little television, spattered with stickers left over the years by one child or another. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Ramesh Karsan carries cans of drinking water for his house. The family house squeezed into a Mumbai shantytown controlled by an organized crime family has no running water or toilet. As days went by and things grew difficult in the house, it was Ramesh, who defused the tension, joking and roughhousing with the kids. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Ramesh Karsan carries cans of drinking water for his house. The family house squeezed into a Mumbai shantytown controlled by an organized crime family has no running water or toilet. As days went by and things grew difficult in the house, it was Ramesh, who defused the tension, joking and roughhousing with the kids. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina’s daughter Guddi Ramesh washes utensils outside their home. Members of the gang who run the neighbourhood had come by a few times for their monthly rent, which was due on April 1. But the family didn’t have the money. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina’s daughter Guddi Ramesh washes utensils outside their home. Members of the gang who run the neighbourhood had come by a few times for their monthly rent, which was due on April 1. But the family didn’t have the money. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jakhawadiya receives free ration from her neighbour. “I know we are facing bad days ahead,” said Jakhawadiya, a 47-year-old woman who, like many in India’s vast slums, is a force of will. She knew how to arrange for a daughter’s heart surgery and can feed her family on her minuscule profits. But she’s never faced anything like this. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya receives free ration from her neighbour. “I know we are facing bad days ahead,” said Jakhawadiya, a 47-year-old woman who, like many in India’s vast slums, is a force of will. She knew how to arrange for a daughter’s heart surgery and can feed her family on her minuscule profits. But she’s never faced anything like this. (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jakhawadiya, shares light moment with her son Ritik Ramesh in her house. “I saw him (Ramesh) laughing today,” Mina said one day, surprised. “The kids were laughing too. I felt really good inside but I have this perpetual fear of what might happen next. Today we have a roof to sleep under, but what if tomorrow we’re evicted? What if we have no food?” (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya, shares light moment with her son Ritik Ramesh in her house. “I saw him (Ramesh) laughing today,” Mina said one day, surprised. “The kids were laughing too. I felt really good inside but I have this perpetual fear of what might happen next. Today we have a roof to sleep under, but what if tomorrow we’re evicted? What if we have no food?” (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST
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Mina Jakhawadiya scolds her son Ritik Ramesh, (in red) to not play outside during lockdown. She refuses to watch the news anymore. “There is no good news right now,” she said. “All they talk about on the television is people dying.” (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Mina Jakhawadiya scolds her son Ritik Ramesh, (in red) to not play outside during lockdown. She refuses to watch the news anymore. “There is no good news right now,” she said. “All they talk about on the television is people dying.” (Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2020 12:46 PM IST

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