Mumbai: A delegation of anti-CAA protestors from the sit-in demonstration at Morland Road, Nagpada – dubbed `Mumbai Bagh’ -- on Monday met BMC commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, demanding action against a ward officer whose complaint to the police prompted an FIR on February 7 against 300 unnamed women protesters for `wrongful restraint’.
Late evening on Monday, the protesters also held a candlelight vigil at Morland Road, condemning police brutality on students of Jamia Milia Islamia University. Women from the different walks life gathered at the protest site lit candles and raised slogans of ``Azaadi’’.
“This is a very emotional moment for us. These incidents are happening repeatedly, which bring to the fore the barbarism of the central government,” said Ayesh Siddiqui, one of the protestors at Nagpada.
On Friday, Assistant commissioner of E ward Alka Sasane lodged a complaint with the Nagpada police, alleging that the civic body was not able to complete road construction work on Morland Road as the protesters had set up a stage and put chairs on the road, and also obstructed traffic movement in the area.
A 13-member delegation led by Nationalist Congress Party corporator Kaptan Malik and activist Feroze Mithiborewala, calling themselves "Satyagrahis of Mumbai Bagh", met the BMC chief on Monday and agreed to co-operate with the BMC for resumption of work on Morland Road, but also indicated that the protest would continue at the same location.
“The construction work at Morland Road only began three months back, and was being carried out sporadically. It was not a motorable road, and access for vehicles, as well as two-wheelers, had already been largely restricted,” said Meher Ansari, a protestor and a local resident of Madanpura.
However, according to the FIR, the indefinite protest has led to the stalling of construction work and is causing obstruction to traffic, among other issues.
“Chief Engineer for roads and traffic Sanjay Darade will now discuss with us how construction work – which mainly constitutes the renovation of the sidewalk – can be resumed,” said NCP corporator Kaptan Malik.
The BMC wishes to wrap up the work before the monsoon sets in. However, the protest according to the BMC officials, have led to work being stalled indefinitely.
"The members of Mumbai Bagh sit-in protest have agreed to extend their full co-operation to the BMC when the efforts resume, and are also willing to provide any necessary on-ground help in the form of "shramdaan" (voluntary contribution involving physical effort), in order to facilitate the construction work," said Malik.
He further added, "The Municipal Commissioner has also stated that he will be discussing the FIR with Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve in order to have it quashed.”
Besides Malik and Mithiborewala, the delegation comprised local representatives like Zahida Shaikh, Umme Muhammad, Meher Ansari, Maryam Tinwala, Farid Khan, Waqar Ahmad, media professional Bijal Shah and social activist Guddi.
Meanwhile, Bhiwandi MLA and Samajwadi Party corporator in the BMC, Rais Shaikh, has written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging that the ward officer Alka Sasane had taken the step at the behest of "someone with a vested interest" in disrupting the protest. He too has demanded action against the ward officer.
Despite several attempts, Alka Sasane, assistant commissioner of E ward (Byculla, Mumbai Central), was unavailable for comment.