An eerie silence persisted in Malad (East) after shops remained close on Wednesday, a day after a Shiv Sena leader was murdered in his house by four men. The reason? The Sena man had intervened while the men were allegedly harassing and attacking his neighbour.
mid-day had reported on October 22 about the incident, in which local Shiv Sena office bearer Ramesh Baban Jadhav was murdered in his own home by a group of men. The accused were identified as Gullu Ali Mohammad Sajida (45), Yusuf Sajida (25), Sohail Ansari (25), Imran Kazi and a minor.
Daya Trivedi, who was allegedly attacked by the five accused
All accused are related to each other, and the minor is the same boy who slashed his school senior with a blade in July, after the senior stopped him from beating up a classmate. As soon as news spread of the incident, communal tension flared in the area leading to clashes between the two groups. The homes of the accused were also vandalised by unidentified people.
Sharad Jadhav, Ramesh’s brother-in-law, alleged the women from the accused’s family blocked the way and didn’t allow the deceased’s brother Sanjay to save him. Pics/Nikesh Gurav
The real story
The incident occurred in chawls in Koth Dongre, near Tipco Plaza in Malad (East). According to locals, the murder happened because the accused had attacked one of Jadhav’s neighbours.
Speaking to mid-day, the woman, Daya Trivedi, explained, “Around 5.15 pm on Tuesday, my son had just washed his bike on the eve of Diwali when one of the family members asked my son why he was looking angrily at them. Scared, I pushed my son inside and locked the door when, suddenly, Sohail and his family attacked me with a sharp weapon.
To protect myself, I raised my hand and suffered cuts on my palm.” Seeing her being attacked, Jadhav came forward and asked the family not to fight on the eve of Diwali. An argument ensued, police said, and Trivedi went inside the house.
Following this, the family forced entry into Jadhav’s house, stabbed him and ran away. “They even tried to enter my house, with the intention to kill me and my son, but I had locked my door,” she recalled. Trivedi further alleged the family regularly threatened people in the area and that many complaints had been lodged with the Dindoshi police.
“The police never took our complaints seriously, and this is why it has happened. Ramesh died to save his neighbour,” said a local resident. The family members run local indoor-games clubs and parlours, and have criminal backgrounds, police sources said.
Jadhav was gat pramukh (local group leader) of Shiv Sena in the area and operated an imitation jewellery business. He is survived by his wife, a two-year-old daughter and his mother. The leader’s wife is in shock and is not speaking to anyone. The family has been staying in the chawl for more than 70 years; in fact, it is called Baban Jadhav chawl.
His brother-in-law, Sharad, added, “We are shattered by this incident. When Ramesh’s younger brother Sanjay tried to save him, a few women from the family blocked the path. Police should collect evidence and punish those responsible for this murder, according to the law.”
No sooner did news spread, than Shiv Sena workers erupted in protest. Nearly 500 party workers were seen outside Dindoshi police station late in the night on Tuesday. Angry workers also smashed windows and windshields of cars and trucks parked nearby.
They also blockaded the Western Express Highway, but police arrived soon and took a control of matters. Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria came to the area and promised to bring those responsible to book. Maria left only at 6 am on Wednesday, after the situation had eased up.
Yesterday, shops remained closed and hundreds of people, including political leaders and MLAs, attended the funeral. Heavy bandobast had been deployed. Some shops near the station upped their shutters, but a majority of stores in Koth Dongri remained shut.
As a mark of protest, locals have also decided not to celebrate Diwali. “We have taken a collective decision not to celebrate Diwali. We’ve even removed lanterns and decoration lights,” a local said. Messages condemning the death were also seen written at various spots.
All the five accused were arrested from Mira Road in the wee hours of Wednesday. Dindoshi police said all five have assault and accident cases registered with them. They were produced in holiday court in Bandra yesterday, and remanded to police custody till October 26.
The minor accused
The one minor arrested in connection with Jadhav’s murder is the same 15-year-old boy studying in Std VIII of a Malad-based English-medium school.
The boy had attacked his senior with a blade in July, after the latter had stopped him from beating up a classmate, which the boy was allegedly doing to show off and impress a girl.
Police said the schoolboy has a criminal record in school and the area. Residents also claimed the boy regularly misbehaved with girls in the area.