Controversy grew over the weekend when Simon Mundy, a correspondent for Financial Times shared photos of the metal spikes installed outside the HDFC Mumbai branch on Sunday and wrote, "An eyecatching response to Mumbai’s homelessness crisis from @HDFC_Bank (Fort branch)"
Calling it heartless and inhumane, several people took to microblogging site Twitter to slam the bank.
@HDFCBank_Cares— Tariq Khan (@CuriousTariq) February 12, 2018
This photo is of your newly opened branch at mg road fort mumbai, besides fabindia. Nice modern branch. BUT Why these hideous spikes?
What if a kid/ elderly or physically disabled person falls on them and get seriously hurt? May lead to very bad PR disaster. pic.twitter.com/jnB1GhSrbS
Tweets soon went viral on the platform with many calling the bank "cruel". While others argued that the sharp spikes were not only dangerous to the homeless but it also put the pedestrians in danger.
Apart from their total lack of empathy to the homeless, they should be prosecuted for putting up a public safety hazard - someone could fall on these spikes and die. @HDFC_Bank , shame!— Nona (@ys_nona) March 26, 2018
The correct thing to install is basic income, not iron spikes.— Scott Santens (@scottsantens) March 26, 2018
They may not allow homeless but all these arrangement can injure or even kill individuals if they fall accidentally.— Ravi Surolia🇮🇳 (@ravi_surolia) March 25, 2018
Please remove these, goosebumps,😕
This is simply deplorable. Anyone can accidentally trip and can get impaled. There should be criminal action against the establishment for endangering public safety.— Debabrat/Debu Mishra (@D_Brat) March 26, 2018
As others have pointed out, these anti-homeless spikes from @HDFC_Bank 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 https://t.co/Eb897CK4fY— Simon Mundy (@simonmundy) March 26, 2018
Quick to respond to the outrage, HDFC apologized on Tuesday and ordered the removal of metal spikes.
"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 private bank's official Twitter handle tweeted.
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. @simonmundy https://t.co/Tw5j6RYmGu— HDFC Bank (@HDFCBank_Cares) March 26, 2018
Later, ANI agency shared visuals of bank workers removing the spikes installed on the pavement.
Thank you , let their be some sanity— 〰️ (@shkahmed) March 27, 2018
Jai ho twitter!— రెడ్డి శివప్రసాద్ (@ReddySivaprasad) March 27, 2018