Mumbai: Homeless Residents Accuse Rahul Narwekar Of Forced Evictions After Providing ID Cards

Mumbai: Homeless Residents Accuse Rahul Narwekar Of Forced Evictions After Providing ID Cards

The residents said they have identity cards with the footpath address in writing from Narwekar, who later asked the police to evict them.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Saturday, March 30, 2024, 09:41 PM IST
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Homeless Residents Accuse Rahul Narwekar Of Forced Evictions After Providing ID Cards | FPJ

Mumbai: Footpath dwellers at Churchgate have alleged that they have been rendered homeless due to their local legislator and Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. The residents said they have identity cards with the footpath address in writing from Narwekar, who later asked the police to evict them.

The homeless footpath dwellers said they were thankful to Narwekar as he helped them get their identity cards, following which they made Aadhaar, voting and PAN cards, but later learnt that he called the police on them.

The FPJ contacted Narwekar, who admitted he provided approval letters. “As an MLA, I am supposed to provide them this letter so that they can get their ration cards or the temporary ‘beghar (homeless)’ cards but it is not meant to be proof of residence. I had asked the police to evict people causing nuisance. If someone is living on the streets, it’s a law and order lookout, not mine,” Narwekar said.

Meanwhile, the residents of Marine Drive and Churchgate have made multiple complaints about homeless people on the streets near the Churchgate bus station, transforming the walking space into living spaces. The FPJ reported the issue in February, following which the Marine Drive police evicted all the pavement dwellers. However, the newspaper received complaints from citizens who claimed that people returned back to the footpaths in less than two days.

The FPJ visited the spot where several people were found to be living on the footpath outside the Janata Dal Secular headquarters and learnt that they were earlier living in a makeshift slum which was demolished to construct the Marine Drive traffic police station, leaving them homeless.

Most of their identity cards carried the address of footpaths – ‘Footpath outside Nehru Garden’, ‘Footpath outside Gandhiji Garden’, ‘Footpath outside Air India’, among others.

A resident of Marine Drive said on condition of anonymity, “Although we face problems because of people encroaching footpaths, we feel pity for their condition. However, such government approved identity cards should not be made with addresses of footpaths. These can be misused and can mark potential threats to national security as well. The law enforcement agencies should make sure that such cards are cancelled in the larger interest of the nation.”

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