‘He used to call me Mama... I wanted to meet him once, ask why he killed my son’

The Indian Express - - N.E.W.S. - MILIND GHATWAI

“I DON’T know what hap­pened to him that day. I wanted to meet him just once and ask him what drove him to kill my son so bru­tally,” says a dis­traught Ab­dul Say­eed of his neigh­bour Shiva Patil. “He used to call me Mama. My son never fought with him. The two fam­i­lies had never quar­reled be­fore.”

Say­eed, in his early 50s, says he saw his son Ab­dul Sal­man, 26, be­ing held by the neck and dragged away by a man at the steer­ing wheel of an In­nova around 1 am on Sun­day. The car drove for about 200 m when Sal­man fell to the ground af­ter his head hit a tanker.

The driver al­legedly re­versed the old SUV and ran over Sal­man, who later died at a hospi­tal, the fa­ther told the po­lice. The bru­tal­ity that he at­tributes to Shiva Patil left him per­plexed be­cause, he said, the Patils — Shiva, his mother Su­nita and sis­ter Aarti - and his fam­ily, who live in ad­ja­cent shanties in Shanti­na­gar Slum near Habib­ganj Jain tem­ple, had no pre­vi­ous en­mity.

Nearly half a dozen cases of ex­tor­tion and phys­i­cal as­sault are regis­tered against Patil, 21, who iden­ti­fied him­self as dis­trict chief of Hindu Rashtriya Sena, in the records of M P Na­gar Po­lice Sta­tion in Bhopal. Say­eed al­leged that his young neigh­bor asked for money from his son Sal­man once or twice but did not press for it once he re­fused.

Be­sides Shiva, at least three other per­sons were al­legedly in the In­nova: his brother Bharat, their brother-in-law Rocky and a friend, Ch­hotu. The ve­hi­cle is regis­tered in Su­nita’s name at the ad­dress Zuggi No 21, Shanti­na­gar Zugiya, Shiva­ji­na­gar.

Shiva threw his weight around in the lo­cal­ity and had painted the names of the Hindu out­fit and of­fice-bear­ers on some walls. His car bore his des­ig­na­tion but the name­plate was re­moved af­ter it was seized when he and Rocky were ar­rested Sun­day.

Bharat, who lives in Shah­pura, used to be a Ba­jrang Dal ac­tivist. “He was sacked be­cause of his du­bi­ous ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Ba­jrang Dal leader Kam­lesh Thakur. When told that the lo­cals in Shanti­na­gar say he reg­u­larly vis­its the slums, Thakur con­ceded he was in touch with Shiva Patil but claimed the lat­ter’s out­fit had no stand­ing and was like one that is found in “ev­ery galli kucha”.

The day af­ter his ar­rest, Shiva claimed he had as­saulted Sal­man be­cause he had sus­pected Sal­man had scrib­bled ob­jec­tion­able words about his sis­ter on the car. Say­eed claimed Sal­man may have at­tended school but could not even write his name prop­erly, leave alone scrib­ble some­thing on a car.

“They first ac­cused me of scratch­ing and writ­ing on the car and hit me on the head with a sword,” says Sal­man’s youngest brother So­heb. “But when they re­alised I never went to school, they held Sal­man re­spon­si­ble for the scrib­ble.”

Say­eed’s fam­ily had rented the shanty in Jan­uary. They used to live in another shanty a few feet away, but moved be­cause it was too small to ac­com­mo­date a new mem­ber of the fam­ily — Sal­man would have mar­ried at the end of the month at a mass nikaah pro­gramme funded by the state gov­ern­ment.

Sal­man and his fa­ther used to take turns at driv­ing their two load­ing ve­hi­cles. They parked their ve­hi­cles at night at a lot op­po­site Sargam Talkies in M P Na­gar, the same place where Shiva too oc­ca­sion­ally parked his ve­hi­cle.

The fight that ap­par­ently led to the brutal mur­der of Sal­man be­gan in this park­ing lot, a few hun­dred me­tres from the shanties. Shiva and his men al­legedly dam­aged sev­eral ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing one owned by Sal­man, in a fit of rage. When Say­eed ran to the park­ing lot to check the dam­age to the load­ing ve­hi­cle, the at­tack­ers drove in their In­nova to­wards the shanties us­ing another road, the fam­ily al­leged.

“Be­fore I re­turned, they had mer­ci­lessly beaten up So­hail. And when Sal­man tried to in­ter­vene, they thrashed him, dragged him and even­tu­ally killed him. I still don’t know what the provo­ca­tion was,” says the fa­ther. He says he too sus­tained in­juries when he tried to stop the In­nova but “did not com­plain about it be­cause my two sons were fight­ing for their lives”.

San­jay Singh Bais, in-charge of MP Na­gar po­lice sta­tion, said the ac­cused has ad­mit­ted ob­jec­tion­able words on his ve­hi­cle drove him to the mur­der. He said the po­lice are look­ing for Bharat and Ch­hotu at their pos­si­ble hide­outs. He said four or five cases were regis­tered against Shiva in his po­lice sta­tion.

When Sal­man’s body was brought af­ter post­mortem, ten­sion had gripped Shanti­na­gar. The po­lice took Shiva’s mother and sis­ter away. Neigh­bours al­leged that Su­nita and her daugh­ter often picked fights with them but they were too scared of Shiva to ap­proach po­lice.

Say­eed said the po­lice did not al­low him to meet Shiva at the po­lice sta­tion the day af­ter his ar­rest. He al­leged that Shiva was non­cha­lant and boasted that “roz ka kaam hai, kya kar loge, ham to ba­har ho jayenge (it’s a daily af­fair, you won’t be able to harm us, we will come out soon).”

Say­eed al­leged that on Wed­nes­day, he saw the po­lice al­low­ing Shiva’s mother and sis­ter free ac­cess to him.

Milind Ghatwai

Ab­dul Say­eed with his sons So­heb and So­hail (head ban­daged); son Sal­man was mur­dered, al­legedly by their neigh­bour.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.