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Mumbai: Residents Pelt Stones At Civic Staff, Cops During Anti-Encroachment Drive; Several Injured

In a release issued in the evening, the BMC said temporary huts had come up on a plot in Powaigaon and Mauje Tirandaj village and the State Human Right Commission had directed the civic body to take action against these structures

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An anti-encroachment drive | Photo: Representational Image
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A total of 15 policemen, five civic engineers and an equal number of labourers were injured on Thursday in stone pelting during an anti-encroachment drive in Powai in north east Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials said.

The incident took place at 1pm at Jai Bhim Nagar slum colony near Hiranandani Hospital there, they added.

In a release issued in the evening, the BMC said temporary huts had come up on a plot in Powaigaon and Mauje Tirandaj village and the State Human Right Commission had directed the civic body to take action against these structures.

The anti-encroachment drive started after taking all legal steps, including giving notices to the hutment dwellers on June 1 under section 488 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, the release said, adding that the people there were asked to remove the structures themselves or face action.

Notices were also sent to the hutment dwellers under section 55 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, it added.

"The civic administration followed the set procedure. Also, enough time was given (to hutment dwellers) prior to issuing notice. The encroachment removal action began as soon as security was received from Mumbai police," the civic statement informed.

According to an official, the civic anti-encroachment team had gone there to clear allegedly illegal structures, which number around 400 on an open plot, along with a posse of police personnel for security, but residents started protesting claiming they had been living there for the past 25 years, an official said.

The residents of Jai Bhim Nagar claimed they were wrongfully given eviction notices by the civic body on June 1.

Amid police warnings to the protesting group to allow civic anti encroachment action to continue, some people started pelting stones, the official said.

"Around 15 police personnel, including an ACP who has been hospitalised, and some BMC officials were injured in the stone pelting. The drive was stopped for some time but stone pelting continued. In order to bring the situation under control, police resorted to mild force," he said.

A video of the stone pelting incident went viral on social media.

It showed men and women throwing stones and police and civic staff running for cover.

BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani inspected the site following the incident and said civic staff will get all backing during such incidents.

The BMC statement also clarified that encroachment removal action will continue.

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