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.
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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 people — Hindus or Muslims — had no time to indulge in things like communal riots. In fact we felt insecure in Solapur because we have a considerable population of illiterate people. I had plans to shift to Pune with my family. What shocked me most is that why didn’t anyone help my son when he was being beaten to death.”
Mohsin stayed in a rented flat in Pune’s Hadapsar area. He shared the flat with two others and his brother Mobin. According to Mobin, on Monday night Mohsin had gone on a motorcycle to get food from a nearby mess with a flatmate Riyaz. “While returning, Mohsin was driving the bike while Riyaz was riding pillion. Suddenly, about 15 men came on motorcycles, shouting slogans. They were armed with hockey sticks and cricket bats. As soon as they saw Mohsin they stopped his bike and started beating him up. They didn’t touch Riyaz. Mohsin had a beard and was wearing a skull cap. Riyaz had none. Riyaz then called me up,” said Mobin.
Mohsin was the only man in the family who kept a beard. “He decided to grow beard only a few years ago. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t think it was something to worry about,” said Sadiq.
Mobin said when he reached the spot, Mohsin was lying on the road. “His head was bleeding profusely. I rushed to get a bike to take him to hospital. When I returned, a police van had arrived at the spot. We took him to the hospital where he later died,” he said. Mohsin’s funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon amid tight police protection.