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'Slumdog' star's shanty torn down

RAILWAY authorities in Mumbai, India, tore down the shanty home of another "Slumdog Millionaire" child star yesterday, barely a week after a first child actor from the Oscar-winning film was forced into the streets.

Rubina Ali, 9, played the character of Latika as a child in the movie, a rags-to-riches romance about a poor Indian boy competing for love and money on a television game show.

Ali's one-room shack was among several illegal dwellings demolished in a slum adjacent to railway tracks overlooking the posh Bandra suburb, home to many Bollywood stars in India's financial capital.

"They can stay with me for now," said Moinuddin Qureshi, Ali's uncle, who stays in a nearby shack surrounded by open sewers. "But they will obviously have to rebuild it, they need a roof over their heads."

A despondent Ali was helping her mother pick up wooden planks and salvage household belongings from the site, a Reuters photographer said.

Authorities said Ali's shack was among 40 illegally built shanties that were removed.

"These structures were on railway land, which is for the benefit of commuters and to be used by the railways," said C. Nitin Kumar David, a spokesman for Western Railway.

Last week, "Slumdog" child star Azharuddin Ismail's tarpaulin-covered home, illegally built along a drain close to Ali's shack, was demolished by city authorities.

Earlier this year, there was an outcry after pictures emerged of "Slumdog Millionaire" child stars living in squalor despite the movie's box-office success and eight Academy Awards.

In February, the housing authority of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said they would give Ismail and Ali new houses.


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