Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has been asked by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to send a report on a young Muslim techie’s murder by Hindu right wing activists in Pune that has sent shockwaves across Pune as well as Mumbai.
Following the murder on Monday night, the Pune police have arrested 17 people suspected of being associated with the Hindu Rashtra Sena, a radical outfit, whose activists had severely beaten up Mohsin Shaikh, a 24-year-old software professional employed in a private firm. What is worse is that the alleged attackers had circulated a SMS on their mobiles saying, “pehili wicket padli” in Marathi meaning that the “first wicket has fallen.”
Pune police have taken a serious note of this message to investigate whether the attack was pre-planned or part of a larger conspiracy.
The hate crime was a result of some controversial posts of King Shivaji and the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and others on Facebook on Saturday night which led to tension and some violence in Pune, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and some parts of Maharashtra.
Angry Shiv Sainiks demanded that the objectionable posts be removed from the social networking site even as Mumbai Police registered a case against unidentified persons under the IT Act for posting the matter on Facebook.
What is unfortunate is that an innocent Shaikh became a victim of hate crime when he was lynched by a mob of 15-20 whilst returning on a motorcycle to his rented flat in the Hadapsar area with his roommate Riyaz Ahmad, who was untouched. Ahmad said Shaikh was attacked because he was wearing a skull cap and had a beard, while he had none. Even as the mob waylaid the duo and pulled out Shaikh and began bludgeoning him, Ahmad ran from the spot and called his brother Mobin for help. By the time he arrived and a police team reached the spot, the assailants had run away leaving behind their motorcycles and wooden sticks, which were seized by the police to identify the culprits.
Shaikh was admitted to a private hospital where he was declared dead around 1 am.
Shaikh hails from Solapur where his parents and other siblings live. His grief-stricken parents have been telling mediapersons that they had no worries about sending their sons to Pune as they considered it a “safe city.”
Whilst police have appealed to people not to believe or spread rumours and have said that Shaikh who was living in Hadapsar since 2006 was not involved with any organisations, news reports stated how the newly-elected BJP MP from Pune, Anil Shirole, has embarrassed his political bosses. He told reporters, “The people of Pune want peace. What was posted on Facebook was sad. It was bound to have some repercussions,” and added that “this was not right.”