Tension prevailed in Camp after a clash erupted between two factions on Saturday afternoon, when a pregnant woman was allegedly manhandled by a hawker. The Cantonment police arrested 10 people involved in the scrap, including former corporator Prasad Kedari (Ward number 3, Congress), who led one of the groups.
Food wars: The clash broke out after the initial dispute between a pregnant woman and a hawker over bhajias. File pic for representation
Bizarrely, the original dispute was over a seemingly petty issue — fritters, or bhajias. The eight-month pregnant woman was heading to her maternal home from her husband’s, when she stopped at a local bhajia seller’s stall near Bhimpura lane at Bhopale chowk.
According to the 22-year-old woman, she was checking whether the fritters were fresh, when the hawker allegedly set his dog on her. In her attempt to escape, she fell down.
The hawker’s version of events is different, however. He claimed that the woman had started eating the bhajias without his permission, after which he shouted at her.
He said that his dog was tied up and didn’t attack her. He further alleged that a little later, a group of men — the woman’s relatives — vandalised his cart.
The woman lodged a complaint of molestation, assault and rioting, for which the cops arrested ex-corporator Kedari and the five others he was allegedly leading against the woman’s relatives. In a cross complaint filed by the hawker, Rajkumar Singh (22), police charged the pregnant woman, her relatives, and friends as well, arresting Zainuddin Shaikh — the woman’s brother’s friend — and three others in his group.
With the area still cast in unrest, the police have also deployed heavy avoid any untoward incidents. Mean-while, the pregnant woman was declared safe by doctors in both government and private hospitals.
Inspector B B Mujawar, in-charge of Cantonment police station, said, “The woman went home and complained about the incident to her husband and parents, on which they marched to the hawker’s stall along with sticks. In the meantime, the stall owner summoned his friend and former corporator, Prasad Kedari, who tried to intervene as the other group vandalised the entire stall. Kedari and the hawker are accused of manhandling and molesting the pregnant woman.”
Inspector (Crime) Nitin Jadhav of Cantonment police station said, “The woman was rushed to Sassoon General Hospital, where doctors said both she and the foetus were normal. In order to bring peace in the area, she was also sent
to a private hospital at Pune Station Road, where the doctor confirmed the same medical report. We have registered both sides’ complaints with us, as the woman’s relatives should have approached us first, instead of taking the law in their own hands.”
All the arrested were produced before the court yesterday, were remanded to magisterial custody and later granted bail.