Mumbai Police wearing masks during the patrolling Azad maidan
Mumbai Police wearing masks during the patrolling Azad maidan
Photo by Bhushan Koyande

Mumbai: Mumbai's finest came to the rescue of a 28-year-old banker via Twitter on Tuesday. The banker, who rents an apartment near Sundar Nagar in Kalina, Santacruz (E), was being hassled by the members of his society to vacate the premises, as he has been going to work despite the ongoing countrywide lockdown.

Since working from home was not an option for him as banking comes under essential services, S Krishnan (name changed on request), shared his ordeal on Twitter, tagging Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh, who promptly intervened, saying it was illegal to ask a banker to vacate his flat for attending work and threatened legal action in case the society members backtracked.

Krishnan was transferred from Coimbatore to Mumbai less than a year ago, after being promoted as bank manager. After the abrupt nationwide lockdown imposed last week, to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, society members allegedly began forcing his landlady to ask him to vacate the flat.

Krishnan told The Free Press Journal, "I live alone in this rented flat and after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a lockdown, the society had sealed the building gates, to limit visitors and contain the outbreak.

However, since I am a bank manager and it is the end of the financial year, how could I work from home?" So, he kept going to work.

Some society members had been observing this and accosted him one day, saying he had two options - he could either continue going to work or vacate the flat, as many of the society members were senior citizens, the most vulnerable group in this outbreak. "I have nowhere else to go and I cannot skip work, so I kept going anyway. Then one day, I was told I would not be allowed to re-enter if I left the building premises.

I was so tired of these constant threats, that I even considered moving, but dropped the idea," Krishnan said. On Tuesday, Mumbai CP Parambir Singh held a live session on Twitter, where he addressed citizens' woes.

Krishnan had tagged the top cop in his tweet: "Sir I’m a Manager in a bank due to which my housing society is warning me to vacate. What can be done in this case?" Singh's answer was swift: "Banking is an essential service.

No one can force you to vacate. Please approach the local police station. Appropriate legal action will be taken." This exchange was viewed by Krishnan's society members, who promptly visited him on Tuesday evening and took back their threats.

Krishnan is relieved as he no longer must worry about finding a new place in the midst of a lockdown. Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association said, "Considering the lockdown situation, a tenant cannot be asked to vacate the flat at this hour.

However, the grounds that the banker was being threatened eviction was not right and a tenant cannot be evicted abruptly, without a due notice. Also, amid shutdown authorities have appealed to landlords, authorities to stop demolition and not evict the tenant."

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Free Press Journal