26/11: 9 yrs on, no lessons learnt

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While the ninth anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks approaches, security measures at Badhwar Park jetty in Cuffe Parade — the entry point of Ajmal Kasab and nine other Pakistani terrorists — remains dismal. Illegal slums have cropped up near the jetty which is meant to be a parking area for boats. Time and again the local community of fishermen has raised the issue with the city collector, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Police, stating that the illegal slums pose a potential security threat. The jetty at Badhwar Park connects to the adjoining Machhimar Nagar, one of the largest colonies of fisher folk in the city.

Damodar Tandel, president, Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), said, “We have complained to the city collector, BMC and also to the Mumbai police about the illegal slums connecting to the jetty but no action has been taken. Officials from the collector’s office work hand in glove with the slum mafias operating there. No security measures are in place and suspected Bangladeshi migrants have occupied the slums, who are involved in scrap dealings.

Meanwhile city collector Sampada Mehta said, “I will have to examine the receipt of any such complaint.”

Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of BMC’s A Ward said, “The land belongs to the collector and comes under the state government’s purview. Only if the collector asks us to carry out demolition work, we can take action in this regard.

However, the BMC cannot carry out demolition work on the said land on its own although we have received complaints about the slums.”

A senior Mumbai police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have installed CCTVs near the jetty to monitor suspicious activity. Policemen also conduct regular patrolling in the area. The fishermen have informed the police about the illegal slums and we have communicated the same to the collector’s office.”

RECAP OF HORROR

  • It was a little after 8.30 pm on November 26, 2008, when Ajmal Kasab and his nine accomplices parked their inflated rubber dinghy off Bhai Bhandarkar Macchimar Colony opposite Badhwar Park at Cuffe Parade.
  • They had set sail for the city from Pakistan, and took three days to reach the shore.

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