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'Tears rolled down my eyes as I remembered my family'

While protesters and policemen alike came under fist and foot during last week’s riots, a State Reserve Police Force constable (SRPF) managed to survive a ruthless beating against all odds. As chaos engulfed the streets outside Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal, constable Arun Dattatray Sathe (in pic) was kidnapped and attacked by an angry mob while he attempted to contain the situation. The mob dragged Sathe away from Azad Maidan for more than 200 metres and attacked him with bamboo sticks.

Arun Dattatray Sathe

“I was asked to report at Azad Maidan along with my subordinates as lots of people had gathered for the protest against the Assam violence. We stopped at the signal near the BMC building. Senior Police Inspector Padmakar Juikar, who is with the MRA Marg police station was manning the traffic as the roads were blocked due to the protestors,” Sathe recounted.

Sathe went to help Juikar at around 3.10 pm when a mob came running from the Azad Maidan side and dragged him towards the GPO building. “They were shoving me and pulling me by the collar. People hit me hard on my head and ran.

They were carrying sickles, hockey sticks, wooden planks and iron rods with them. They hit my legs and back with the hockey sticks and also beat me with the wooden planks that had nails in them. I thought they would attack me for some time and then abandon me, but it kept on going and they kept dragging me by my torn shirt,” said Sathe.

“One of the rioters hit me hard on my face with the wooden plank. I thought it was the end of my life and began remembering my family members with tears rolling down my eyes. That’s when I heard a gunshot fire and the mob started running. I grabbed the opportunity and ran towards an old building and saw that Juikar Saheb was also hiding,” said Sathe.

Sathe along with Juikar then called for an ambulance and were admitted at St George Hospital at around 4:25 pm. Sathe’s wife Arundati said, “We got married five months ago. I am happy that my husband has reached home safe and sound.”

Sathe sustained a nose fracture, an injury on his head and neck and a swelling on his chest. “I have been working with the SRPF for the last three years, but this was the toughest time of my life.

I was posted in Mumbai since the 26/11 attack, and we are deployed at emergencies like the Mantralaya fire, but this time I thought my end had come. Aai Vadilachi Puniya ke mein aaj vachalo. (Just because my parents might have done some good work, I am here today alive),” said Sathe who stays with his family in Hadpsar, Pune. 

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