Salman case is about the homeless, says NGO

Salman case is about the homeless, says NGO

Salman Khan may have been acquitted in the drunken driving and hit-and-run cases, but thousands of homeless people are vulnerable to being mowed down by cars, an NGO has said.

“Isn’t our system allowing more Salmans, more Pereiras and Nandas to crush lives of the homeless under their speeding BMWs, Audis and SUVs?” lawyer-activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal said.

“It is not about who was behind the wheel, it is about why people in one city are forced to sleep on the street?” she said.

The NGO Homeless Collective has also said it is disturbingly ironic that Salman’s acquittal came on the International Human Rights Day, which should force citizens to rethink and reconsider our definitions of the terms “human” and “rights” with regards to the thousands of homeless people in Mumbai.

“We hope for change, we hope that the system and the society wake up to the rights of the homeless before we lose another “Nurullah”- the one who died on September 18, 2002,” the NGO said.

“Our angst is not directed against Salman Khan or against the right and wrong of the verdict because we are not the ones to take a call on that,” a statement from Homeless Collective said, adding that it is concerned by the apathy shown by the system towards the homeless who risk their lives sleeping on footpaths.

In 2012, Homeless Collective filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court for non-provision of night shelters with basic amenities to the vulnerable homeless population in Maharashtra and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, which was one of the respondents. The Maharashtra government filed its affidavit in the case after three years on November 24, 2015. The next hearing is scheduled for December 16.

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