The recent installation of iron spikes outside a bank caused an uproar on social media, as people branded this move as insensitive. Several people posted pictures of these dangerous iron spikes in front of a shuttered South Mumbai HDFC branch on Twitter. What seemed like an extreme security measure on the bank’s behalf was criticised for being inconsiderate towards the homeless and risking citizens’ safety. The iron spikes represent increasing hostility towards the underprivileged, who are made to feel unwelcome just because they are not rich enough to afford a roof over their heads in Mumbai.

Extreme measure

Mumbai, where a square inch of space sells for a premium and where migrants make a beeline for their livelihood, the homelessness crisis is snowballing. Hence, many people found these iron spikes inconsiderate towards those who have to sleep on footpaths

Some also pointed out that these spikes were a safety hazard for the general public. The elderly, children or even common folk could suffer serious injuries if they tripped over these spikes.

This digital outrage managed to grab the attention of Neeraj Jha, Head of Corporate Communication, HDFC Ltd, who assured that these spikes will be removed.

So today (March 27), the spikes were removed, thus pacifying an outrage which could have cost the said bank its public image

But the question that still remains is this: Why did it take social media outrage to point out to the bank that putting up spikes was simply wrong?

Mumbai’s space crunch

As per the 2011 District Census Handbook Mumbai, the district of Mumbai has a population density of 19,652 persons per square kilometre. To give readers a context, the population density of state of Maharashtra is 365 persons per sq km. In the decade of 2001- 2011, Mumbai saw a Decadal Population Growth rate of 15.99 per cent. Now let’s put these numbers in context of the size of Mumbai district (an area of 157 sq km).

It thus becomes obvious, as to why millions have to spend nights sleeping out on streets.

The land of promise can give you food and even money to an extent. But when it comes to a roof over your head, you need big pockets to even own matchbox homes

There is still no solution in sight for Mumbai’s housing crisis. But putting out iron spikes is certainly not one. If we cannot even tolerate the sight of tired pedestrians sitting, or the homeless sleeping outside closed shutters, then probably we have lost some sense of humanity. We cannot give them food or money. We cannot give people hope and consolation amidst tough times. The least we can do is to allow them to rest their tired bones, so that they can get recharged for another day in paradise.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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