Updated: August 31, 2021 7:35:48 am
Thane Assistant Municipal Commissioner (AMC) Kalpita Pimple and her security detail were grievously injured on Monday when a street vendor attacked them with a huge knife during an anti-encroachment drive.
Pimple lost two fingers in the attack, and Somnath Maruti Palve, her security guard, lost one finger, as both used their hands to fend off the attacker. Both are in hospital undergoing treatment.
The attacker was identified as Amarjeet Singh Yadav, a vegetable vendor. He was arrested on the spot even as he threatened to harm himself with the same knife if the police came near him.
According to the police, the incident took place around 6.30 pm at Kasaravadavali Bazarpeth, when Pimple, attached to the Manpada division of TMC, was leading an anti-encroachment drive against street vendors. Her team had upended Yadav’s vegetable kiosk, set up on and around a cart.
As Pimple moved on from Yadav’s scattered vegetables, he came at her with a sharp knife from behind and started slashing her. The 40-year-old Pimple tried to save herself by using her hands to block the knife. In the process, two fingers of her left hand got cut off. She also suffered other injuries on her hands and head.
The police said her security guard, privately hired by the Thane Municipal Corporation, rushed to save Pimple, but the vendor attacked him too, and he lost a finger. Two policemen and three policewomen were deployed for the anti-encroachment drive, but according to their seniors, it happened so quickly that they had no time to react.
In videos recorded by passers-by, the hawker was seen standing at the spot after the attack with a long flat bladed knife in each hand, warning people against approaching him.
As the police closed in on him, he bowed deeply to them and was heard saying, “Don’t come near me. Just say what you want me to do. I will come with you wherever you want me to come. You can hang me if you wish. I will slit my throat. It’s really painful. It’s my right to live on this earth… I am a poor man, can’t I just earn peacefully on this earth and live? No one can help me… not even you… I know.”
The police were able to overpower him after a few minutes, and took to him station where he was booked and subsequently placed under arrest.
A police source said Yadav had no past criminal record and has been selling vegetables in Thane for many years. He told the police that he was angry that his shop had been destroyed, and went after the person he believed was responsible.
Kiran Khairnar, Senior Police Inspector of Kasarvadavali police station, said, “The accused has been booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code for attempted murder, assaulting and deterring public servant while performing duty. He will be produced in the court on Tuesday.”
Until late in the night, doctors at Jupiter Hospital in Thane were carrying out procedures to stitch the chopped off fingers back on Pimple’s hand. Palve was also being similarly treated.
“The Thane civic administration is not scared of such cowardly attacks on its officials by encroachers. Rather, it will intensify the action against such illegal hackers and builders. We generally carry our own as well as police security while carrying out such drives. In future if needed we will ask for more security force,” said Sanjay Hirwade, Additional Municipal Commissioner of TMC.
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