In a humiliating experience, State Reserve Police Force jawans guarding the Taj hotel were forced to spent a night on a pavement after an embarassed Maharashtra government removed them from the nearby Gateway of India which they had turned into a make-shift home.
Facing outrage over the kind of treatment meted out to the jawans who squatted at the iconic heritage monument, authorities today shifted them and gave a new 'home'--a temporary cramped room at the Colaba Police Station.
The SRPF has been guarding the Taj Hotel ever since it was targetted during the 26/11 terror attacks and had bore the brunt of the carnage.
Home Minister R R Patil had visited Gateway of India on Thursday night to get a first hand information about the jawans, who had made the historical Gateway their temporary home and ordered them to be shifted. Policemen from Colaba police station removed belongings of the jawans last night and threw them onto a sidewalk.
During their stay, the jawans drove nails in the monument walls for their clothline, ate and slept there raising questions about protection of the heritage sites.
"We have provided SRPF jawans with a small 10'X15' room for the time-being and have been told that the Government is looking for some accomodation for them", Senior Police Inspector Prakash Bhoite told PTI.
There are about 13 groups of SRPF in Maharashtra and took turns to keep a hawk's vigil at the Gateway of India and the Taj hotel.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's take on the plight of the jawans was scarcity of accommodation for policemen. But, he said the state government was taking measures to rectify the situation.