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from India Insight:

Dharavi’s once-booming leather industry losing its edge

A busy street in Asia’s largest slum Dharavi leads to a quiet lane where Anita Leathers operates its colouring unit. As children play near shops that sell everything from mobile phones and garments to raw meat and sweets, the mood at the leather unit is sombre.

The leather business is one of the biggest contributors to the Mumbai slum’s informal economy, estimated to have an annual turnover of more than $500 million. About 15,000 small-scale industries, spread over an area of 500 acres, deal in businesses such as pottery, plastic recycling and garment manufacturing.

But the leather trade has been hit hard by increasing competition, an influx of cheap Chinese goods, rising raw material costs and labour shortages in recent years, leading to a decline in demand and dimming prospects of the once-flourishing business.

At Anita Leathers, which has been colouring and supplying leather sheets to merchants in Mumbai for more than three decades, annual sales fell from 5 million rupees ($83,000) in 2007 to 500,000 rupees ($8,300) last year. This has forced its owner Babu Rao to put some workers on paid leave.

from India Insight:

Mumbai’s local delicacies no longer everyone’s cup of tea

Every day, for the past few decades, Dayanand Shenoy has taken an early morning train to Grant Road station in south Mumbai from his home in the suburb of Borivali. Initially, it was for work but now it's just for oven-fresh mava cakes from B Merwan.

The bakery, on the ground floor of a dilapidated four-storey building, has many admirers in India’s financial capital. Hundreds line up daily, some at sunrise, to buy cups of sugary tea and some bun maska (sweet milk bread slathered with butter).

from India Insight:

Mumbai police look to Bollywood for image makeover

Mumbai's police department has deployed an unusual strategy to revamp its sagging reputation and to counter criticism that it hasn't done a good job at solving crimes against women in the city - it called the biggest game in town and asked for help.

Top city police officers, including the police commissioner, have asked Bollywood producers, directors and writers to portray them in a more positive light than they usually do.

from India Insight:

Kids rule the roost as Bollywood woos audiences

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Mumbai resident Gopal Das doesn't usually go to the movies. It's the children who drag him and his wife to the cinema to watch the latest Bollywood film.

Das's 8-year-old son Shubham insisted on watching Shah Rukh Khan's "Chennai Express" on his birthday this week. His teenage sister had recommended it.

from India Insight:

A safe city no more: what went wrong in Mumbai

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

An increasingly globalized city that has grown indiscriminately, a metropolis where inequality festers, and an urban sprawl blind to the needs of the poor. Mumbai is where a twentysomething photojournalist was gang-raped by five men this month, shattering perceptions that it is India’s safest city for women.

Sociologists and historians say this was not an isolated incident, and warn of more attacks. They cite a growing class divide and pockets of uneven growth as factors linked to crimes against women, who are often victims of socially sanctioned oppression.

from India Insight:

Reactions on Twitter to the Mumbai gang rape

A photographer in her early 20s was gang-raped by five men in India’s financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, evoking comparisons with a similar incident in Delhi in December that led to nationwide protests.

Here is a compilation of politicians and other celebrities reacting on Twitter:

Amitabh Bachchan, actor: Appalled and most disgusted with the recent rape of a young photo journalist in the heart of city .. day time .. shocked !!

from India Insight:

Not so safe in Mumbai any more

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

When the Delhi gang rape made headlines last December, most Mumbai residents thought such a thing could never happen in their city.

A girl raped during daylight hours in a public place in a posh area? Nah! Not possible in Mumbai. This is a city where women can walk the streets alone at night and not feel threatened.

from India Insight:

Photographer gang-raped in Mumbai

A 22-year-old photographer was gang-raped by five men in India's financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, evoking comparisons with a similar incident in Delhi in December that led to nationwide protests.

The incident took place near the posh Lower Parel area when the woman, a photojournalist with a magazine, was out on assignment. She was accompanied by a male colleague, media reports said.

from India Insight:

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead

Narendra Dabholkar, who campaigned against superstition in India for more than two decades, was shot dead in Pune on Tuesday, police said.

Dabholkar, 67, was a physician-turned-activist who openly criticised and questioned supernatural phenomena attributed to practitioners of black magic in India.

from India Insight:

Mumbai blames lingerie-clad mannequins for sex crimes

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

You can't blame it on illiteracy or poor policing. Or patriarchal mindsets in India.

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