Mumbai: A group of hawkers, including women, under the banner of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hawkers’ Association, staged a flash protest near the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters on Thursday afternoon. In the midst of the proceedings, an angry protester managed to get inside the BMC building and climbed to the gallery, shouting slogans and threatened to jump off, if the issue was not resolved.
The trespasser has been identified as Mangesh Suryavasnhi. He was detained and taken to the Azad Maidan Police Station. Police and security guards struggled to control the situation, according to an eyewitness. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1), Abhishek Trimukhe said, “One youth attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the terrace, but did not do so. It was simply a threat. He was taken to the police station, where he was let off with a warning and proper counselling.”
No case has been registered in the matter, said police. Hawkers from Ghatkopar’s Hingwala Market also participated in the protest, demanding they be allowed to continue their business in the same market. The market has been shut for the last two years. The protesters demanded they should be allowed to carry out hawking without disturbance. The demand has come after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers have time and again vandalised hawkers’ stalls, especially after the Elphinstone station stampede in September 2017, in which 22 people lost their lives.
Interestingly, MNS chief Raj Thackeray also visited the BMC and met civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Thursday. Thackeray reminded him about the hawking issue near restricted areas. “If the BMC is unable to take action against these hawkers, then we will once again start our violent stir,” threatened Thackeray.