Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

‘We thought Pune was a safe city where people had no time for riots’

Sadiq said he was aware of the communal tension in Pune after derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Bal Thackeray were posted on Facebook over the weekend, but that did not worry him a bit. Source: Arul Horizon The derogatory photographs, which were also circulated on WhatsApp, had led to violence in the city. (Source: Express photo by Arul Horizon)
Written by Atikh Rashid | Solapur | Posted: June 5, 2014 3:28 am | Updated: June 5, 2014 8:09 am

Mohsin Shaikh was the responsible eldest son of the family and their sole breadwinner. The 28-year-old IT manager, who worked in a private firm in Pune, would send a part of his salary to his father in Solapur at the beginning of every month. He did that on Monday morning too and called up his father.

That was the last time 60-year-old Sadiq Shaikh heard from his son. On Monday night, Mohsin was beaten to death, allegedly by members of a radical Hindu outfit, as he was returning to his rented flat in Pune.

Sadiq said he was aware of the communal tension in Pune after derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Bal Thackeray were posted on Facebook over the weekend, but that did not worry him a bit. “I wasn’t worried at all. Neither was Mohsin. We knew Pune was a safe city. I had spoken to him on Monday afternoon and we didn’t even discuss this issue. We didn’t think it was something to worry about. He had called me to inform that he had transferred the money,” Sadiq told The Indian Express at his Postal Colony house here. “Mohsin always transferred the money the day he got his salary,” he said, as tears welled up in his eyes.

Mohsin’s mother Shabana Shaikh, 50, who suffers from high blood pressure, was unable to speak and had doctors attending to her constantly.

While seven people associated with the Hindu Rashtra Samiti were arrested on Tuesday, six more were arrested on Wednesday. The derogatory photographs, which were also circulated on WhatsApp, had led to violence in the city. More than 200 public transport and private vehicles were damaged as violent mobs indulged in stone-pelting and arson over three days.

Sadiq earlier owned a small shop near his house with an STD booth. “I shut the shop a few years ago when Mohsin started earning. The shop wasn’t doing well anyway,” he said.

He said Mohsin had been staying in Pune for the past six years. After graduation from a local college, Mohsin did a hardware networking course and shifted to Pune. He worked at a firm for three years, and then shifted to the present company as IT manager. Two months ago, his younger brother Mobin went to Pune to look for a job. Mohsin helped him get a temporary job there, Sadiq said.

“I always thought of Pune as safe city. Safest in fact,” said Sadiq, who also has a married daughter. “Even in my wildest dreams I never thought that such an incident could happen in Pune.”

“My impression of Pune was that of a peaceful city where continued…

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