Mohsin Shaikh's lynching case is an incisive example of travesty of justice in India. He was allegedly murdered by a Hindu right wing mob in Pune, within a week after the first Narendra Modi government came to power. Since then, his family has been struggling to meet their daily needs, however, justice seems a distant dream for them. Rather, an atmosphere is being created where such a culture of hate crimes is being propagated.
Mohsin was working with an IT firm in Pune. He had cleared his second round of interview for a job in Wipro. On June 2, 2014, he was returning after offering namaz, when a mob of Hindu Rashtra Sena workers allegedly lynched him to death. The incident took place after a rumour was spread that somebody has maliciously morphed the photo of King Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
The murder shocked the Shaikh family, which is originally from Solapur city. Mohsin's grandfather was a postman and he had built his house in the postal colony of Solapur where only two out of 34 houses are of Muslims. "We never felt that we would be discriminated on the basis of religion. From our childhood we have had so many Hindu friends. We used to go to their home and they would visit us regularly. Religion was a totally personal fact for us," said Mohsin's younger brother Mubin.
After the lynching, then Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan assured justice and financial aid to the Shaikh family. Also, he assured a government job for Mubin in Solapur city. But nothing has happened so far.
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"We were expecting a job, even if it is grade three. But after almost an year, Maharashtra government wrote back to us that there is no provision of jobs to family members in such cases," said Mubin. His father received Rs 10 lakh from the government but even that too took almost two years and after several follow ups.
In October 2014, the government in Maharashtra changed. BJP came to power with the support of Shiv Sena. The state's famous public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam was handling the case then. But he recused himself from the case. The lawyer’s decision came as a shock to Shaikh’s family, as well as their supporters and sympathisers who were fighting for justice. Since then, the state government has not allotted a public prosecutor in this case.
Meanwhile, the police had arrested Dhananjay Desai, chief of Hindu Rashtra Sena and his 22 followers in this case, who are now out on bail.
On the family front, the Shaikhs are going through one shock after another. Mohsin's father Sadiq was doing everything possible to get justice for his son. He had shut down his photocopy shop two years prior to Mohsin's death. Mubin, who was also staying in Pune with Mohsin and working in marketing, had to return to Solapur to look after his family. The stress and tension of fighting for the case made his father sick. Sadiq Shaikh also became a patient of blood pressure. In December 2018, after fighting for four years to get justice, Sadiq Shaikh died a sorrowful death.
Mubin had started his first job in marketing in an automobile industry. After he his return to Solapur, he found a job in the same sector. But, the current recession in industry has taken away his job. For the last four months, Mubin, the only bread-winner in his family, has been jobless.
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Mubin and Mohsin's mother Shamana Parbin is also not keeping well. She, too, has been diagnosed with blood pressure and diabete. "We are literally struggling to meet the needs of medicines for her," said Mubin.
As the issue is so sensitive, Mubin finds that people want to avoid talking about it. "When I go for a job interview, people tell me to not talk about the case at all. Their discomfort is clearly visible," he said. He also said that till now no one has rejected him a job on this basis.
When asked about what he thinks about justice, Mubin said that he is hopeful that one day his family will get justice. "It is getting delayed. Now there is no PP. State government should allocate a PP in this case and see that justice is done," he said. Mubin and the supporters in this case are demanding fast-track hearing, so that the case can become an example against the crime of lynching.
The hopes of Mohsin Shaikh’s family for justice serve as an inspiration for the citizens of this country. However, the incidents of mob lynching in the name of religion are continuing unabated across the country. Delayed justice is only adding to the impunity of criminals who commit these crimes.