'Slumdog Millionaire' children back on streets, shanties razed
Mumbai, May 14 (IANS) Nearly 20 children who acted in the Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire' have been thrown on the streets after Mumbai civic authorities Thursday morning demolished nearly 50 huts in a slum here, terming the slum unauthorised.
Azharuddin Ismail M. Shaikh, the main child star of the movie, said a team of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) came unannounced this morning, ordered them to move out of their shanties in Garib Nagar slum of Bandra East and demolished them.
'We have nowhere to go. We are just sitting on the road in the blazing sun right now. All our belongings and other household goods have either been thrown out or damaged. We don't know what we will eat today,' Azhar, crying inconsolably, told IANS.
When contacted, Assistant Municipal Commissioner H (East) Ward U.D. Mistry said the MCGM had specific orders from the headquarters to clear off all hutments which are constructed on the main drain in Bandra East.
'It may have happened that these celebrity children's homes also fell in this category, but we have to follow orders,' Mistry said.
He added that if eligible, all the displaced persons would be provided alternative accommodation before the monsoon, expected to hit Mumbai early June.
In the meantime, the families of Azhar and his co-star Rubina Ali Qureshi are now pinning their hopes on getting a flat as promised by Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
The flat allotment was delayed since the elections were announced but now the model code of conduct will be lifted Monday.
This is the second time in the past five years or so that the MCGM has demolished the shanties in the area. Since the last demolition, the families, including those of the 'Slumdog' artistes, have been living in a park or pavements, said a resident, Yakub Abdul Sheikh.