Living under constant fear Octagenerian couple Yusuf and Mubarika Contractor hesitate to open the doors and venturing out of home. Both fearing losing the roof over their heads since 1988 in the twilight years of their life to the land mafia eyeing their prime property at Bazaar road, a stones throw from Bandra Police station. A story repeated in many localities of ruthless Mumbai where senior citizens are the most vulnerable.
Yusuf, a civil contractor was happy living a content retired life with his wife after marrying both his daughter in the ground plus one cottage on the bustling Bazaar road, Bandra. “Rising expenses and medical costs of old age made us decide giving the lower floor on rent for some additional income in 2017 which we regret till date. After expiry of lease the tenant refused to vacate the premises and stopped paying rent. We had go lengthy court case to get eviction orders and warrant of possesion,” rues Yusuf Contractor.
The couple to fight a long court battle finally culminating in Bombay High Court ruling in their favour but court orders was not the happy ending for the super senior citizen. They again had to run from Bandra police station to the Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey to get the court order enforced. A dozen odd trips to meet the police commissioner who assured them full police support but no action by the local police officer citing lack of manpower to assist eviction of unlawful tenent. The court baliff with the police commissioner office managed to get back possession of the property to be again forcibly taken over by the same tenant Irshad Ahmed Qureshi. The frightened couple rushed to Bandra police station but were shooed away citing it to be civil dispute. “The police mocked at us and told to approach the court even though we already had the court orders in our favour,” cries Yusuf. The tenant installed CCTV cameras all over the premises to monitor the movement of the Contractors which has unnerved the Octagenerian.
“My father in law is simply tired and cannot continue with odd against him to get his own property forcible occupied. The CCTV is very traumatic for them. He is too old but spirited to fight till the last breath,” says son in law Abbas Bagasrawala.
While the Bandra Police station has filed an FIR against Irshad Qureshi on 9 March 2022 after the intervention of police chief Sanjay Pandey no further action has been taken to get the rightful owners their disposssed home. “It is a civil case and courts will decide,” was the curt response of the duty officer when asked about the progress of the case. Mumbai Police had launched an initiative with great fanfare last month to resolved property disputed and assigned an inspector rank nodal officers to such cases but on ground reality is different with with senior citizens like Contractors helpless to protect their homes from being forcibly taken.