Did they install bench bars, you wonder? Nope. This particular branch put up spikes. Really big ones.
— Simon Mundy (@simonmundy) March 25, 2018
Within hours, Mundy had hundreds of netizens responding to his tweet, calling the move a safety hazard.
— Ravi Surolia🇮🇳 (@ravi_surolia) March 25, 2018
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) March 26, 2018
— Nona (@ys_nona) March 26, 2018
"As other have pointed out, these anti-homeless spikes from HDFC Bank Fort branch are not only a depressing gesture towards Mumbai's many rough sleepers," Mundy said in a follow up tweet, using a common British term for homeless people, "but could also impale any pedestrian unlucky enough to trip and fall in this crowded passageway."
However, this isn't exactly a new practice, as Mundy later told the Mumbai Mirror.
"It reminded me of ‘defensive architecture' installed in London to prevent homeless people from sleeping outside commercial premises, which attracted a great deal of public controversy," Mundy told the outlet. "I noted [in subsequent tweets], however, that the spikes outside this HDFC Bank branch were far longer and sharper than those I had seen photographed in the UK and could cause grave injury to anyone who fell on them — there appeared a particular risk of this happening since the passageway outside the branch is narrow and crowded."
Taking note of the growing outrage, HDFC Bank informed the publication that it would be removing the spikes immediately.
"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 carried out there," HDFC said in a statement. "While the installation is legal, we should have been conscious of the possibility of inconvenience to passers-by, especially children and elderly."
"We should have been sensitive. We are having the spikes removed on priority," it added.
The company also responded to Mundy's tweet and thanked the journalist for "bringing this to our attention."