Hawkers in Mumbai’s Vile Parle have accused Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Ameet Satam of verbally and physically abusing them. A complaint has been filed at the Juhu Police Station against the Andheri (West) MLA for demanding bribes to let the hawkers continue to sell their wares.

A video purportedly showing Satam using abusive language and kicking men who are believed to be hawkers went viral on social media. The MLA has claimed that he was demanding that officials take action against vendors who were cooking illegally in the open.

In a letter to the police station, the Azad Hawkers’ Union accused Satam of causing financial damage, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult and criminal intimidation. They have demanded an FIR against Satam.

“He just wanted us evicted,” Borhun Shah, one of the signatories, told the Hindustan Times. “I do not know what his intentions are or whether he wants hafta [a bribe] from us. But he abused us, threatened us, rounded up our wares and caused us financial damage. We were about 13-14 hawkers there.”


The MLA, however, has denied the accusations. “Why would I be so petty as to trouble small-time vendors and extort money out of them?” Satam said. “The cooking that goes on at these stalls is in violation of High Court guidelines.”

“I have been trying to get authorities to take action against the use of cylinders on the roads in the open as it is a recipe for disaster,” the Hindustan Times quoted Satam as saying. “After the cylinder blast [at an under-construction building in Juhu], I took it up more strongly. My language was purely out of emotion as I had just seen four corpses completely charred beyond recognition the previous night.”