Will pollute water in the holy well inside Indawalla Agiary, they fear, while other locals protest its location next to a holy Peepul tree
Following its tussle with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to save the Atash Behrams, the Parsi community is now up against the BMC in order to protect the sanctity of the Indawalla Agiary at Chandanwadi. Earlier this week, the civic body began constructing a toilet block inside a garden behind the agiary when locals, as well as members of the Zoroastrian community, raised strong objections to it.
The toilet block is being constructed inside the Hemalwadi garden, located just behind the 175-year-old Bai Avabai Ardeshir Wadia (Indawalla) Agiary. The community is worried that it will contaminate the water in the holy well inside the agiary premises. “How can they build a toilet so close to a holy place? We fear that it will contaminate the well water which we use to perform our rituals. Our religious sentiments have been hurt and our community is very concerned,” said Cyrus Irani.
Others claimed that the BMC was constructing a toilet when there was no requirement for one in the area. “There are at least two other public toilets within walking distance from here (the garden). Instead of repairing the ones in bad shape, the BMC is constructing a toilet in a garden which is already quite small to begin with,” said Pervez Cooper. Local residents also pointed to the fact that the Chattrapati Vyayamshala (a municipal gymnasium) constructed inside the garden leaves little space for children to play. Janak Sanghvi, a former corporator, said, “The play area is small and the toilet will shrink the size of the garden further.”
Another resident, Prakash Jadhav said that the toilet would cause trouble to women worshipping a 100-year-old Peepul tree inside the garden. “I have seen many women performing puja there every morning. How can they make a toilet right next to it?” he said.
The residents have submitted a written complaint to the C ward office on January 2 demanding that the toilet be shifted elsewhere. While assistant municipal commissioner Sunil Sardar of C ward couldn’t be reached for comment, S K Mudhe, assistant engineer of the SWM department confirmed the news. “It’s a market area and there is no toilet facility here. There is a need for a public toilet and there is no other space available apart from the garden. We’re constructing the toilet in one corner of the garden and the children’s play area is intact,” he said.