Navi Mumbai: 37-year-old who set himself ablaze in police station dies

Almost a month after he set himself afire inside Malwani police station, a 37-year-old man died on Monday at the National Burns Hospital, Navi Mumbai. His wife and family members alleged that they have lost him due to the negligence of Malwani police.

Mukesh Sonawane
Mukesh Sonawane

Police said Mukesh Sonawane, a resident of Kharodi village, Malwani, Malad West, set himself afire at Malwani Police station on February 29. The lower portion of his body was burnt badly; police saved him with the help of a blanket and some clothes. mid-day had reported this on March 1, ‘Upset with neighbour, 37-year-old sets himself ablaze in police station’ (March 1).

After Sonawane’s death, his wife Savita alleged, “Malwani police officers are responsible for his death. My husband had filed many complaints against few people who kept harassing him, but they did not take any action against them, due to which my husband burnt himself.”

She also alleged that Sonawane set himself afire at around 3:00 pm in the police station, but police informed her around 5:30 pm. Also, on the day of incident at around 11 pm Sonawane’s condition became serious, but cops did not try to shift him to another hospital. She alleged that late at night they tried to admit him at Hinduja Hospital, where admission was denied, then they took him to Alex hospital in Chembur, where he was admitted. She alleged his condition became critical and they admitted him in Navi Mumbai’s National Burns Hospital on March 2. He was admitted there till his death.

“Nobody came to my help. Neither a politician nor an NGO. My battle against the Malwani police will continue and I will fight till my husband gets justice,” Savita said. Sonawane was the sole earning person in the family. They have two kids, a five-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl. Sonawane worked in the marketing research department in a reputed private firm.

Minakshi Kalita who runs an NGO, Tejas, came forward to help the Sonawane family yesterday. Minakshi said they will help get justice for the Sonawane family.

The dispute
According to the Malwani police, there is a dispute between the Sonawane family and their neighbour Joseph Gonsalves, over a piece of land and the repair and renovation of their hut. Sonawane’s mother had lodged a complaint against Gonsalves in month of February as he allegedly abused her over the matter of the hut.

Senior Inspector Milind Khete had refuted all of Savita’s allegations. He said after the incident Sonawane was sent to the Shatabdi hospital for treatment, it was his family who shifted him later to other hospitals. After the incident, police booked Joseph Gonsalves, and another local, Gulam Sheikh under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 511 (attempt to commit offences) of IPC.

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