Displaying the same never-say-die attitude that won him the President’s medal for arresting 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Qasab at Marine Drive, Police Naik Mangesh Naik on Saturday night caught two persons involved in a group clash in Malad despite suffering a head injury.
The 45-year-old Naik was bleeding heavily after being struck by a stone while chasing the troublemakers down a dark lane, but he did not stop and managed to arrest two of them.
Naik’s colleagues admitted him to Suvarna hospital in Malad after he had handed over the accused to them.
The two arrested men were identified as Firoz Shaikh (21), a resident of Laljipada in Kandivli, and Mangesh Kadam (22), a resident of Bandarpagadi road in Kandivli.
The police said around 11.35 pm Naik, a beat marshal attached to the Malad police station with responsibility for beat number 1, received a call from the police control room about a fight between two groups at Malad subway, near the Malad traffic chowky.
Naik reached the spot along with Constable S Lavande and rode his bike right into the middle of the clashing groups, causing the persons involved in the ruckus to scatter.
As Naik and Lavande tried to control the situation, the troublemakers started running away. Naik ran after a man into a dark lane, where he was hit on the head by a stone.
“While we were patrolling, we received a call around 11.35 pm on Saturday night and immediately left for the trouble spot, reaching there before the police van could arrive,” Naik said. “The moment we saw a huge crowd at the spot, we took the bike in the middle of the crowd to scatter the gathered people. As the people in the crowd starting running away, we started chasing them on foot. I saw one of them running into a dark lane and I followed him. As soon as I entered the lane, I was hit by a stone from behind and I started bleeding.”
Naik said while the other troublemakers escaped by climbing a wall, he caught hold of two of them.
“Later the Malad police van arrived and the two were taken to the Malad police station, and my colleagues took me to the hospital,” Naik said.
The street battle
The police said there was a canteen close to a Bata showroom located near Malad subway where the catering section men were having food and liquor. They said a spat developed into a fight and, after one of the groups called up more people, a large number of men arrived and the situation soon resembled a pitched street battle.
The police said the accused were drunk out of their senses and hitting one another with whatever they could find on the main road.
A man who witnessed the clash dialled the number of the police control room, from where the message was relayed to Naik.
According to the medical records, the wound was not very deep and stitches were not required. Doctors who attended to Naik and dressed the wound told him the wound would heal gradually.
Naik was discharged yesterday morning, but he is scheduled to undergo a CT scan following his complaints of a headache.
A police officer attached to the Malad police station said that if Naik and Lavande had not reached the scene of the clash in time, there could have been much violence.
“What these two constables did was equivalent to the efforts of six to seven policemen,” the officer said.
Assistant Police Inspector Mohan Harpude of the Malad police station said the two accused were arrested under Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
“We have launched a search for the other people involved in the clash,” Harpude said.
That fateful night in November 2008
Mangesh Naik joined the police force in 1985 as a constable. Later, when he was attached to the DB Marg police station in 2008, he was part of the team that arrested 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Qasab.
On November 26, 2008, the day of the terror strike, after receiving a broadcast message on the wireless about terrorists opening fire and using grenades to attack public places, a police team that Naik was a part of reached Girgaum Chowpatty and asked people to head for their homes. After clearing the beach, they set up barricades to block the roads leading to Churchgate and Malabar hill.
They started checking every vehicle for possible terrorists and weapons and explosives. They saw a Skoda car (MH02 HP1276) speeding towards the barricades, but the car halted around 10 feet away from the police team. When the police approached the car they realised that two terrorists, Abu Ismail and Ajmal Qasab, were inside the car and were carrying hand grenades and two AK 47s. While Abu Ismail was killed in the police firing, Naik and some of his colleagues caught Qasab. Naik also managed to snatch the AK-47 that Qasab was carrying.
Naik has been in police service for 27 years. He won the President’s Gallantry Award and a DG insignia in 2009 for his act of bravery while catching Qasab alive.
Mangesh Naik was in the team that helped capture Ajmal Qasab near Girgaum Chowpatty. Naik also managed to snatch the AK-47 Qasab was carrying.