Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A wave of terror and uncertainty swept across the footpath dwellers and homeless people in Rio, the largest city of Brazil, after a news reached the city that Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan has been nominated as goodwill ambassador to the Rio Olympics, from India.
“Is he planning to drive across the city? Which all roads will he take? Is he gonna drive a big car? Will he be driving the same car? We don’t know the answer to these questions yet. We are all terrorized, praying to the lord all the time.” said Rivadinho, a 20 year old resident of a favela in Rio.
Sarah Jacobson,an American social activist who runs a foreign funded NGO in Rio and works for welfare of footpath dwellers, was also visibly worried. She said, “Thousands of footpath-dwellers have already fled Rio to nearby safe areas but thousand others have nowhere to go and are forced to live in danger zones across the city. You can say it is as bad as a natural calamity for these people, but there are no governmental aid packages. Homeless, especially the footpath dwellers are petrified to the core.”
“The silver-lining however is that the footpath mafia which has been charging hefty money from these people for spending nights on the footpaths is now virtually out of business because no one wants to sleep on these footpaths anymore. Consequently, the rents per square-inch of footpath rental space, have massively tanked and the multi-billion dollar business has vanished overnight. This is something I fought against for years, but it just took one decision from Indian sports authorities to dismantle this whole mafioso.” She further added.
While it is not yet clear on when exactly will Salman Khan be travelling to Rio, but many social activists are now demanding the Indian government that his complete itinerary be published in all major Brazilian newspapers one week in advance and severe restrictions be placed on his mobility within the capital city.
“When we sleep at night we don’t know if we will wake up tomorrow or not, but if we are alive tomorrow then we will know that we are not dead.” Rivaldinho said with terror in his eyes.