Almost two days after two teens were assaulted and stripped at the Bandra office of BJP corporator Mahesh Parkar and in a police station, the police on Thursday registered a case against four BJP party workers.
However, due to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the police will not arrest the four accused, one of whom is a ward president of the area for BJP.
Senior police inspector Ashok Borse of Nirmal Nagar police station said, “We registered a case of assault against Singh and three others. We are investigating the matter and will arrest them soon.”
The teens were also allegedly detained by the local police for several hours without a case against their name.
BJP workers from Bandra (E) allegedly assaulted two young boys in their office and at the police station, apart from threatening to murder them, over mere suspicion regarding a mobile phone theft, which had taken place two months ago. The victims have been identified as Wasim Mohammad Shafi, who works with a private cellular company, and Ajay Dhakle, who is employed with a catering firm.
The two friends met at Nirmal Nagar in Bandra (W) around 4.30 pm on Tuesday, and were engaged in a chat, when the ward president of BJP Bablu Singh, the main accused in the case, and five of his associates showed up. They grabbed the two boys and started abusing them. They then demanded that the teens return the mobile phone, which had allegedly been stolen. The two denied any knowledge of the theft.
Bablu and his associates took both the youths to the local corporator’s office in Shantilal compound in Khar and thrashed them. Here Wasim was flogged repeatedly. The culprits hanged him upside down, taking him to the fourth floor of a Railway Colony Compound dwelling, and even threatened to drop him from there. They then thrashed Ajay, and said that they would throw him on the railway tracks. Finally, the boys were taken to Nirmal Nagar police station. The youths repeatedly begged for life and told them that they have not stolen the phone.
At the police station ward president Singh stripped both the youths inside police detection room. He acted as a police officer and started interrogating the youths. However, police did not register any case, it was only after the media report that the case was taken on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Wasim’s uncle Abdul Rasheed Mohammad Shafi reached the police station around 7 pm. “Both the boys were sitting inside, their bodies swollen. But the cops had not taken any action. Later, the officers asked me to take them to VN Desai Hospital in Santacruz for a medical check-up. Here, a doctor confirmed that they had been assaulted by a group of men,” he said.
“When we returned, and asked the cops to file a case, we were told that there was a duty-hour overlap, and we should come back in the morning. Later in the night, Wasim started vomiting, and was rushed to Bhabha Hospital. He has swelling on his face, hands and legs,” added Shafi.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Gyaneshwar Dhakle, Ajay’s father, said, “My son was perched on the ground at the police station when I reached. I gave some of my elder son’s clothes to him, who was with me at the time. This is complete goondagardi, and there is no case against the two boys. We belong to a middle-class family, and that is why we have to face such harassment. We don’t have any influence.”
24 hours after the episode, police recorded Wasim’s statement at Bhabha hospital. “I have taken his statement and will take action accordingly,” said sub-inspector Walmiki Kore. Cops declined to explain how the minors were allegedly illegally detained and assaulted inside the police station, without any case against them.
The police are delaying arresting the suspects because they are afraid that it will create a lot of tension in the area ahead of Modi’s rally. The accused are likely to be arrested on Monday.
Police sources said, ''A big rally of Narendra Modi is scheduled on Sunday. Arresting BJP workers in Bandra itself will create tension in the area which will be tough to manage. Therefore, they will be arrested likely on Monday after the rally. There is a huge pressure of not arresting the accused right now.''
Wasim is still recuperating at Bhabha hospital. While the case raises serious questions as why it took the police two days to register an FIR, their carelessness and working under pressure of political party workers in the minor’s case. A proper departmental inquiry should be initiated in the matter.
When contacted BJP Corporator Mahesh Parker said, “I was not even present in Mumbai when the incident took place. I have a lady operator in my office and it is not possible such a thing happening here. These two minors were beaten up by public and my workers took them to the police station and handed them over.”
The Corporator accused the Congress party of conspiring against him. “It is a game plan of Congress party workers to put us down. All the allegations against me are baseless.”