Maharashtra: Beaten, forced to wave saffron, cop says his force let him down

Sheikh said the attack began at 8.30 am on February 20, when over 100 youth assembled outside the police chowky, after he and Awaskar had stopped a group of 25 from hoisting the saffron flag the previous night.

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai | Updated: February 23, 2016 10:48 pm
ASI Yunus Sheikh being paraded with the saffron flag; admitted to a hospital in Latur, Maharashtra. ASI Yunus Sheikh being paraded with the saffron flag; admitted to a hospital in Latur, Maharashtra.

Yunus Sheikh, the Assistant Sub-Inspector who was assaulted, forced to carry a “saffron flag” and paraded through a town in Maharashtra’s Latur by members of a fringe right-wing group, has said that he was let down by his own colleagues who failed to save him.

The 50-year-old’s family has demanded a departmental probe into why reinforcements from Renapur police station failed to arrive in time to tackle the mob at Pangaon, around 15 km away, on Saturday. Sheikh, who is posted at the Renapur station, was on duty at Pangaon chowky.

Police on Sunday arrested 16 youths, including a minor, for assaulting Sheikh and forcing him to chant ‘Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji’ after he and K Awaskar, a head constable, tried to prevent them from hoisting the flag near Ambedkar Chowk, officially labelled as a “sensitive area”, to mark Shivaji Jayanti.

On Monday, speaking to The Indian Express from his bed at the Latur Civil Hospital, Sheikh said, “I phoned the control room and appraised them about the situation. Using my mobile, I called the in-charge of the Renapur station on his cellphone. But still, they failed to send reinforcements in time. The policemen reached Pangaon by 10.10 am. By then, the mob had assaulted me brutally and humiliated me by parading me.”

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Latur SP Dyaneshwar Chavan, however, said reinforcements had reached Pangaon within 9.50 am that day after two calls were received from Sheikh at 8.30 am and 8.45 am. Maharashtra DGP Pravin Dixit said the Aurangabad IG has been asked to “visit the spot and submit a report”.

Sheikh said the attack began at 8.30 am on February 20, when over 100 youth assembled outside the police chowky, after he and Awaskar had stopped a group of 25 from hoisting the saffron flag the previous night. Police said the group belonged to the little-known Shivaji Jayanti Mandal.

“I begged them to let me go but I was mercilessly beaten until I collapsed. The mob took me to the same spot where I had stopped them from hoisting the flag. They made me hoist the same flag there and forced me to chant ‘Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji’,” said Sheikh.

“I was just doing my duty. Ambedkar Chowk is marked as a communally sensitive area. We even assured the group the previous night that we would find a better place for them to hoist the flag,” said Sheikh.

ASI Yunus Sheikh being paraded with the saffron flag. ASI Yunus Sheikh being paraded with the saffron flag.

Sheikh’s 28-year-old son, Farooq Yunus Sheikh, alleged that his father was “singled out” by the mob.

“The other constable who had also restrained the crowd from hoisting the flag the previous night was not paraded or attacked the way my father was. They spared him but not my father. What are we to make out of this?” asked Farooq, who works for an IT firm in Pune.

“If reinforcements had be sent on time, my father would not have been attacked. In every case, a departmental enquiry is ordered, we hope that this case is no different,” he said.

Admitted to a hospital in Latur, Maharashtra. Admitted to a hospital in Latur, Maharashtra.

Farooq, who is tending to his father in hospital, said he was not satisfied with the arrests made so far.

“The other policeman has been made as a complainant. We fear this will weaken the case. He cannot provide an accurate account of what happened that morning. My father was the one who was assaulted and paraded, he should be made the complainant,” said Farooq.

“Also, the FIR has been registered against 125 people but only a handful have been arrested so far. The main accused that police identified from video footage has not been arrested so far. We feel that police are not aggressive enough in protecting one of their own,” Farooq said.

Sheikh, who has served Maharashtra Police for 38 years, has been on duty at the Pangaon outpost for the past two years. He stays in Latur with his wife while both his sons stay in Pune.

All 16 arrested, including the juvenile, have been booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 353 (use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duties). The juvenile has been sent to a correctional facility while the other accused have been remanded in police custody until February 24.

Responding to allegations levelled by Sheikh and his family, Latur SP Chavan said, “Sheikh called the station around 8.30 am to inform that a violent mob was closing down shops. He made another call around 8.45 am after which we sent a police team on a jeep to the chowky. The team saw Awaskar, who was also injured, brought him to the outpost and attended to him. They reached the spot where Sheikh had been taken by 9.50 am.”

Chavan also said that it was not mandatory that only the victim of a crime be made the complainant.

“The provisions of CrPC allow a case to be registered by anyone who is a witness or victim to a cognizable offence. Awaskar has narrated the entire episode and we have also recorded Sheikh’s statement. It is a strong case,” added Chawan.

Asked about the main accused, Sandeep Chavan, the SP said there were “three to four more people who were heading the mob” and they would be arrested soon.

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  1. M
    mulla randi
    Feb 23, 2016 at 9:32 am
    They have done great job....
    Reply
    1. B
      Bharat
      Feb 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm
      wow ! what a good news ,great job brothers, this should be repeated in every street of the nation , jai bhawani , jai shivaji, jai bharath maatha .
      Reply
      1. B
        Bharat
        Feb 24, 2016 at 6:29 am
        I think all Muslim pigs should under stand the same
        Reply
        1. B
          Bharat
          Feb 24, 2016 at 6:10 am
          What these lions did is completely justifying ,who is that pig ba t ta rdd to oppose the maharastrian flag on shivaji jayanthi , will these pigs sit silent if we do the same on their muharram
          Reply
          1. B
            Bharat
            Feb 24, 2016 at 6:06 am
            hi soch is mullah pigs jihadi mentality to convert entire world in to filthy Islam , we are defending yourself from your filthy islam
            Reply
            1. P
              Prion
              Feb 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm
              Lions my a mob a bunch of juvenile thugs at most .The police man should trim his Muslim beard in times as this when the w country is trying to find its ideological leanings ,and the ruling party insists that its rigid interpetation of nationalism must be followed.
              Reply
              1. K
                Khan
                Feb 23, 2016 at 4:32 am
                India.....out of control
                Reply
                1. S
                  Saurabh
                  Feb 23, 2016 at 4:25 am
                  Jungle raj in Maharashtra
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Saurabh
                    Feb 23, 2016 at 4:25 am
                    Some people cannot fight one-on-one so they come in group of 100 like a group of dogs. Saffron terrorist have no future.
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Asma
                      Feb 23, 2016 at 7:22 am
                      No doubt, Taleban-style.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        ams
                        Feb 23, 2016 at 2:43 am
                        India is def. going to the dogs. Why do Indians have to choose between the devil and the deep sea between BJP and Congies????
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          Afzal Ahmad
                          Feb 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm
                          This is a very tolerant India and we are a disciplined law abiding people. Since BJP led by our PM, Mr. has come to power, the law and order has totally collapsed everywhere especially in states ruled by BJP. May be it Delhi or Haryana or Rajasthan or UP, so far they were targeting civilians in beating or humiliating or even murdering but now with the backing of government, they have mustered the courage of beating even a Muslim Police SI while his Hindu subordinates was not even touched. These subordinates were more loyal to the saffron goons and instead of saving their SI, they remained mute spectator and indirectly provided helping hand those saffron goons to beat parade and humiliate their SI only because he was a Muslim. Apart from exemplary punishment to culprits, the Police personnel present at spot should be dismissed from service apart from severe punishment for dereliction of their duty. Mr. Modi has done all these things in Gujarat and now he is trying the same thing in entire country. If it is not dealt with iron hand with exemplary punishment to culprits, both from public and police, it may have serious consequences in future. Even the SP of Latur appears to be deliberate slow in action and he should also be put to task.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            alla bulla
                            Feb 24, 2016 at 8:04 am
                            my name is alla bulla and i f* c*ed 9 yr old ayesha ,umm her chuuth tasted very good ,thank you mohammad for sending this ran diii to my heaven ,now there are 73 virgins in my ii khaana
                            Reply
                            1. H
                              Hanif Shaikh
                              Feb 23, 2016 at 8:46 pm
                              Im a muslim and i support this action. Why should Maharashtrians be stopped from hoisting their flag in their own state on Shivaji Jayanti ? Can we imagine if on EID day muslims are not allowed to take out their flags ? Countless people would be beaten up , just like how we burnt an entire police station in Malda.. west bengal. We live in Hindustan and they not need our permision to practise Hinduism.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                Amitabha Kumar
                                Feb 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm
                                Afraid right left war going at dangerous position. As a Indian law is above govt run through consution.
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  mumbai
                                  Feb 23, 2016 at 8:21 am
                                  This is hindutwa. hindutwa is winning. Within a short period of time the w world will understand the hinduism. This is Geeta, this is ramayana, this is mahabharat. dont stay back go with full force. show your strength.
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    Anisree
                                    Feb 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm
                                    This is really shameful. Immediate action should be taken against all those in the mob. Whatever the reason be, this is not the way to react.
                                    Reply
                                    1. A
                                      ARIF
                                      Feb 25, 2016 at 6:31 am
                                      Kya naam batein tune Hanif ? Does anyone ask u to give ur ideny ...you can't be a Muslim who support this type of incidents ... You are a Hindu and don't manite the issue .. BEING a true Muslim always go with the truth ..
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        Arun
                                        Feb 23, 2016 at 6:33 am
                                        JUNGLE RAJ in Maharshtra by RSS.
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          Raj
                                          Feb 23, 2016 at 5:24 am
                                          Beware people this is BJP/RSS's jungle raj ! Its my way or highway !!
                                          Reply
                                          1. D
                                            Dareal INdian
                                            Feb 24, 2016 at 5:12 am
                                            He was just doing his duty. Ambedkar Chowk is marked as a communally sensitive area. :-) Bhakts dont blindly keep lickn your bosses a#ses to get a padma!! you wont get one!! have the balls to speak for what is right!! just commenting on the posts and abusing others doesnt make you patriotic!! if you love your country then do good.. cheers!
                                            Reply
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