Mumbai: Three policemen were injured after slum dwellers pelted stones on them on Tuesday. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) was putting up a fence in Koparkhairane a Navi Mumbai suburb, to cordon off encroachments on large plots of land. In the last few months, there has been a proliferation of unauthorised slums in front of Koparkhairane railway station. Accordingly, CIDCO’s anti-encroachment team and police decided to take action.
No sooner did the anti-encroachment team embark on its drive, women and children in the slums began to pelt stones at the team. Senior Inspector of Koparkhairane police station Shivaji Awate was among those injured. CIDCO is trying to clear and take control of a large plot in Sector 8 on Bonkode Road near Balaji Multiplex and the railway tracks, occupied by around 250 shanties.
“Our officials and personnel from the Controller of Unauthorised Constructions had gone to the plot to fence it,” said Mohan Ninawe, senior public relations officer, CIDCO. “However, as soon as our people reached the spot with police protection and machinery, slum dwellers started pelting stones at them,” he said.
Shankar Patil, 26, a local resident who saw the violence, said, “Officials ran for cover and the police tried to contain the situation. Awate was hit on the head, while two other policemen also got hurt.” The police resorted to mild lathicharge to clear out the slum dwellers, after which the fencing activity resumed. The assistant police commissioner of the Vashi department, Pradip Jadhav, said 13 persons were arrested and taken into custody by police.