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Pune Lynching Victim’s Father Dies a Broken Man, Waiting for Compensation to Fund his Treatment

Trial is yet to begin in the killing of 28-year-old IT engineer Mohsin Shaikh, the first victim of lynching by Right-wing goons after the Modi government assumed power in 2014.
Sadique sheikh

Sadique Shaikh, 64, father of Mohsin Shaikh, died on Monday.

PUNE: Sadique Shaikh, 64, father of Mohsin Shaikh, died on Monday, December 17, due to heart attack following a few days of hospitalisation. Despite him running from pillar to post to get justice for his son, who was lynched to death by Right-wing goons, the case is yet to go to trial in the Pune Sessions Court. The most painful fact is that Shaikh, who was running a phone booth, had to take Ayurvedic treatment in his last days, as he had no funds to take treatment from allopathic doctors. Even though Rs 10 lakh as compensation was released 10 days ago, the amount was yet to reach the family when he was hospitalised.

Mohsin Shaikh, a 28-year-old IT engineer, was lynched to death by goons of the Right-wing outfit called the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) led by Dhananjay Desai. Mohsin was killed during communal clashes that broke out in Pune following objectionable social media posts about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray went viral on June 2, 2014. Mohsin was going home after prayers in a mosque in Hadapasar, when a group of HRS members including Desai, attacked him at 9.15 PM. He died after a few hours during treatment at a nearby hospital. This was the first death by lynching by Right-wing extremists after the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in April that year.

Mubin Shaikh, Sadique’s younger son, said, “He was not keeping well for over ten days and hence, we admitted him in an Ayurvedic hospital due to lack of money. Doctors over there had advised us that he needed bypass surgery as he had a couple of blockages in his hearts. After his health deteriorated further, we had to take him to Ashwini Hospital. However, doctors advised us against bypass as he was not in good health. They told us that only when he gets better surgery should be done. After he was shifted to the general ward from the ICU, he suffered a heart attack on Monday. Earlier, he had been under treatment from Ayurvedic doctors for age-related health problems like blood pressure and so on. And that too because we could not afford expensive treatment.”

Mubin further added, “He used to run a photocopier and phone booth. But since the death of my brother he had been visiting lawyers, courts, police and social activists and travelling to Pune and Mumbai for court hearings. Hence, his income from the shop was almost negligible. I had been working at a local car shop, but I don’t have much salary to run the house.”

Mubin, who is a B Com graduate, lost his current job due to his continuous absence following his father’s admission in a hospital. Mubin feels that if he had received compensation on time his father would have been alive. He said, “At least there were chances that he would get better treatment before it got worse.”

Delayed Justice, Delayed Compensation

Afreen Khan, lawyer who pro bono filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court, said, “Mohsin’s family received Rs 5 lakh after his death as ex gratia by the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan. His family was entitled to receive compensation under Victims of Riots and Communal Violence (Equal Compensation) Act, 2016, but that they never received. Hence, in December last year, we filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court and notices were issued to both the state and central government in April this year. The Chief Judge of Bombay High Court also asked the government why compensation was not given.”

Khan added, “Government’s reply was that they did not have the address of the victim’s family. The family has always stayed in Solapur and Mohsin was staying in Pune for job. His family had received ex gratia compensation through collector’s office in Solapur. Still, the state replied in this way. The judge reprimanded the state and ordered them to pay the family within a week. Sadique Shaikh, though he was in poor health, had to go to the Collector and Tehsildar’s office a number of times. The family received the cheque on December 5, after which they must have got the money in the next 3-4 days.”

“Till the court passed the order on November last week, we had no idea whether the family would get the money and when, as there were chances of the hearing getting postponed. In such a scenario, I am sure he could not depend on this money and had to opt for Ayurvedic treatment,” she said.

Anjum Inamdar, president of Muslim Mulnivasi Manch, the organisation that has been giving support to Mohsin’s family, said, “Sadique in his old age had been coming to Pune after Mohsin’s death to get follow up from the police about the arrests of accused and later for filing charge sheet and various applications in the Pune Sessions Court and Bombay High Court. He had to bear all the expenses of travelling to Pune and Mumbai and meet leaders and social workers asking for moral and other support. This continuous travel, tensions, pressure and delayed justice had been taking a toll on his health.”

The Case

Meanwhile, in the case, the charge-sheet has been filed by Pune police but charges are yet to be framed and trial is yet to begin. Pune Police had arrested 21 accused, including Desai, soon after the death of Mohsin but slowly most of them are out on bail and only Desai is lodged in Yerwada Jail. In the meantime, Ujjwal Nikam who was a special public prosecutor left the case without giving any reason and now public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar is fighting the case. That was also a major setback for Sadique Shaikh as he had requested the then CM Chavan to make Nikam the SPP. Nikam was then fighting Kasab’s case and Shaikh had confidence that he would be able to give justice to his son.

Now both Imran, Sadique’s son-in-law, and Mubin are trying to understand the technical details of the case and going through all the documents they have. Earlier, Sadique Shaikh was handling it. Both of them are determined to fight the case till they get justice and culprits get punishment. Mubin said, “That would be a fulfilment of my father’s wish.”

(Varsha Torgalkar is a Pune-based independent journalist.)

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