In October 2015, lawyer and social activist Afroz Shah began a mission to clean Versova Beach.
Afroz and his team had also been praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May for his cleanliness work.
But on Sunday, Shah tweeted that the clean-up was suspended because the volunteers at the beach were being abused by goons for picking up garbage.
Week 109 cleanup.Volunteers abused by goons for picking up garbage.Administrative lethargy,non clearance of picked up garbage and abuses is what we are https://t.co/ydEzp638C6 largest beach cleanup is suspended.Tried my best and I failed.Forgive me my ocean and my country. pic.twitter.com/XdFJMfZNeV
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) November 19, 2017
"One person picked up a bamboo to hit my tractor operator... One should face the truth. I have failed miserably," NDTV also quoted the lawyer as saying.
The report also said that over the last 109 weeks, Afroz and his team had removed over seven million kg of garbage from the beach. The United Nations Environment Programme has called the movement the world's largest beach clean-up movement.
Days after Shah announced that the movement would be suspended, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri took up the issue with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. He also assured Shah of his support.
Want to assure @UNEP Head @ErikSolheim whom I first met when he mediated in Sri Lanka crisis that @AfrozShah1 & volunteers, not only have support from him & the intl community, but also of @MoHUA_India & millions of #swachhagrahis. His work also lauded by PM @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/kMblczvgXB
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) November 23, 2017
Deeply concerned about attack on @AfrozShah1 & his volunteers by criminal elements. Took this up with @CMOMaharashtra Was assured that instructions had already been issued to municipal & @MumbaiPolice authorities to give all help.This service to the nation must go on. pic.twitter.com/HHSrFfK5lK
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) November 21, 2017
Shah also received support from celebrities like Dia Mirza and Randeep Hooda on social media.
Don’t give up @AfrozShah1. You inspire a productive public participation that few in this country have achieved or can imagine to achieve. You have many compatriots. Especially children. With you always. https://t.co/c5K3JmaFo3
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) November 20, 2017
The Shiv Sena also offered support to Shah after he met Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray and mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar at BMC headquarters on Wednesday evening, according to Mumbai Mirror.
"We will speak to the police and ask them to ensure the safety of the volunteers. I have also asked the mayor to fast-track tenders for the new contract (for garbage collection) and extend the BMC's services during the citizen's drive. If needed we will deploy Sainiks during the clean-up drive, too," the report quoted Thackeray as saying.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 23, 2017 14:01:41 IST