Mumbai Crime: 6 walk free as family of molested 10-year-old refuses to testify

Updated: Dec 17, 2016, 08:36 IST | Faisal Tandel |

Family of man who died standing up for molested 10-year-old speaks after his killers walk away because the victim's family refused to testify in the case

Shaikh's mother Shainaz (58) and kids Afiya (11) and Ali (9) will remember him as a hero. Pics/Sameer Markande
Shaikh's mother Shainaz (58) and kids Afiya (11) and Ali (9) will remember him as a hero. Pics/Sameer Markande

Haji Ali Shaikh would have done anything to help a friend in trouble. If only his friends were as brave as him. Three years after he died trying to protect his friend's 10-year-old daughter from a molestor, his killers managed to walk free because his friends were too scared to testify in the case.

Haji was a bodybuilder, but his sense of justice was perhaps even stronger than his muscles. He took on a job as a security guard at a Kalyan mall so he could use his strength to help and protect people.

Haji Ali Shaikh
Haji Ali Shaikh

Three years ago, when he heard that his friend's daughter had been molested, he didn't think twice about confronting the culprit, Sadik Shaikh. Angered by the fact that Sadik had taken the 10-year-old girl to a building terrace and molested her there, Haji slapped him thrice and warned him never to repeat the act. But Sadik decided to teach Haji a lesson instead.

The next day, on March 15, 2013, Haji was on his way home on his motorcycle when he was accosted near a public toilet by Sadik and five of his accomplices. They slashed him with a chopper, and he fell of his bike. The group stabbed him at least 30 times and left him there to die. Haji's relatives found him in a pool of blood and rushed him to hospital.

Haji was on his way home when he was accosted by the accused near a public toilet
Haji was on his way home when he was accosted by the accused near a public toilet

"He had multiple stab wounds on his body. He was taken to Shreedevi hospital first, but his condition was critical so he had to be moved to AIMS hospital in Dombivli. However, he had a lost a lot of blood and passed away on the way," said Shainaz Shaikh (58), who was in tears as she sat with Haji's kids — Afiya (11) and Ali (9).

Afraid of a police case, two of the accused, Shamshuddin and Sumit stabbed themselves in the hand and then approached the police claiming that Haji attacked them first and they retaliated in self-defence. "The police then arrested Shamshuddin and Sumit, who confessed to the crime and handed over the murder weapon to the police," added Shainaz.

Feeling betrayed
While the family will always remember Haji as a hero, they are still in disbelief over the acquittal of his killers on Wednesday, despite the fact that two of the accused had turned themselves in and surrendered the murder weapon. And what has hurt them even more is the fact that the very family that Haji was trying to help later turned their back on him and refused to even testify in the murder case.

"If people behave this way, no one will ever intervene if a girl is being molested in public. The girl's father registered a case against the molester but he refused to testify in our case, saying it would give their daughter a bad reputation," said Shainaz.

"My son fought for the girl as she was his friend's daughter. But the same friend refused to support us in the court. They even moved out of the neighbourhood and the girl's parents disconnected from us as if we had done wrong," she added.

mid-day contacted the mother of the molestation victim, but she refused to comment on the case, and said: "We are not interested in this matter."

Cops say
The investigating officer in the case, PI MS Nerlekar of Mahatma Phule police station was unavailable for comment. Senior PI Anil Pawar said he could not comment as he had only recently taken charge. "The case is more than three years old, and I am not aware about the details," he said.

The case

Six people were charged for murder: Shamshuddin Shaikh, Sadik Shaikh, Zamir Shaikh, Samir Sayed, Subash Malbari and Sumit Prajapati, all from Kala Talao, Kalyan west, about 100 metres from Haji's house. The Mahatma Phule Police station had registered a case under Sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 37 (1) 135 of The Bombay Police Act, 1951. On Wednesday, the Kalyan sessions court acquitted them on the benefit of doubt.

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