Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 12:31 UK

Slumdog star's home is demolished


Azharuddin's mother: "They did not inform us. No notice was given to us."

The Mumbai slum home of one of the child stars of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire has been demolished by city authorities.

Reports say that police smacked the boy, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, with a bamboo stick before ordering him out.

The authorities claim he and other families were squatting on land that was owned by the government.

He played a younger version of one of the main characters in the film, which scooped eight Oscars.

"We are homeless, we have nowhere to go," Azharuddin said after the demolition.

The family lived in a temporary makeshift shelter made up of plastic sheets over bamboo sticks, in a slum near Bandra East in Mumbai.

He said he had been fast asleep when the demolition squad came and asked them to leave, later tearing down the entire row of tents pitched on the land.

The family claim they had not been informed about the planned demolition.

Municipal official, Uma Shankar Mistry, who was present during the demolition, told the BBC that the authorities only razed temporary and illegal homes which had recently been erected next to the slum.

He said the houses were in an area that was meant for a public garden.

Housing promise

The mother of the child actor said that she did not know what would happen to her family now and that the help promised by local authorities and by the film's makers had not materialised.

"Our house has been broken down by officials. We have not been given any alternate accommodation. Earlier the authorities had said they would give us a house. But I don't think that will happen any more," Shamim Ismail told the BBC.

The families of Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and co-star Rubina Ali, who played a younger version of the film's female lead, had been promised new accommodation by a local housing authority.

But a decision about whether or not this will go ahead is still pending.

Film director Danny Boyle has strongly denied charges of exploitation.

The film's makers have set up funds to pay for their education and they have been enrolled in school for the first time.

They also recently announced that they will donate £500,000 to a charity which will help children living in the slums of Mumbai.

The film has made more than $200m (£140m) in box office takings around the world.

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