After widespread criticism on social media, HDFC Bank removes 'anti-homeless' iron spikes outside Mumbai branch

After widespread criticism on social media, HDFC Bank on Tuesday removed metal spikes outside its Fort branch in Mumbai designed to prevent homeless people from sleeping or sitting on the narrow slab.

Sharp metal spikes, which were over three inches tall, were installed last week after the bank on Nanik Motwani Marg was renovated, posing a danger to passers-by as well, Mumbai Mirror reported. The BMC, however, claimed that the spikes were not illegal because they were not installed on the footpath.

"We will conduct a site inspection and if the spikes are posing a danger to people, we will issue a notice to the bank. They have not taken any specific permission from us to install the spikes since it is fitted on their building and not on the footpath," the report quoted Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, as saying.

Photographs of the metal spikes tweeted by Simon Mundy, Mumbai correspondent for Financial Times, sparked outrage on social media, receiving over 2,900 retweets and 2,700 likes on Twitter.

"As others have pointed out, these anti-homeless spikes from HDFC Bank's Fort branch are not only a depressing gesture towards Mumbai's many rough sleepers, but could also impale any pedestrian unlucky enough to trip and fall in this crowded passageway," he said in another tweet.

On Monday, HDFC Bank issued a statement promising to remove the spikes at the earliest. "We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to the public by the installation of the spikes at our Fort Branch, as part of the recent renovation. We're having the spikes removed on priority," the bank tweeted.

Neeraj Jha, head of corporate communications at HDFC Bank, tweeted on Tuesday to show how flower pots have replaced the metal spikes outside the bank's branch.

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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2018 12:12:06 IST

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