Three more Shiv Sainiks were arrested Monday in connection with the attack on the KEM hospital’s head of forensic department, Dr Harish Pathak. All the six Shiv Sainiks who allegedly attacked Dr Pathak Saturday have now been arrested.
Those arrested Monday are Kaka Gaikwad (28), Ravi Kiran Ghatkar (32) and Vishal Rekame (30). “They have been remanded in judicial custody for two days,” said Inspector Dattatray Patil. Gaikwad and Ghatkar, both from Pune, had returned home after the incident. Rekame is a resident of Virar.
On Sunday, the police had arrested a man identified as Jeetendra Kulkarni, also from Pune. Immediately after the incident, the police had arrested Shiv Sainiks Nilesh Dhumal and Yuvraj Dhakale. On Saturday, angered by the hospital’s decision to put numbers on the foreheads of those killed in the stampede on a foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station for speedy identification by their kin, at least six Shiv Sainiks tried to attack Dr Pathak inside the hospital.
The police said the Shiv Sainiks had come to Mumbai on September 30 to attend party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park. They reportedly came across pictures of the victims, with numbers written with red markers on their foreheads, and decided to first visit the KEM hospital in the afternoon before the rally began. “The hospital has zero humanity,” said Dhumal, who tried to write ‘zero’ on Dr Pathak’s forehead with a black marker. He added that he “got enraged after seeing such pictures of his brothers and sisters”.
The six Sena workers, in saffron scarves and party caps, first visited the mortuary’s reception to enquire which doctor took the decision to number the victims. Later, they entered the morgue office on the ground floor, where the forensic department head was with a junior resident doctor. Guard Manoj Jadhav, who was present at the morgue’s main entrance, was unable to stop the group.
While attacking the doctor, Dhumal said, “Terrorists killed in military operations are numbered like this.” Dhumal and Dhakale then tried to write ‘zero’ on Dr Pathak’s forehead. Dhumal works as a security guard in Shirdi. Dhakale is an estate agent in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The two were immediately arrested by the Bhoiwada police and a FIR lodged by the hospital. The police identified the four others who had fled from CCTV footage.
On Tuesday, Dr Pathak was called to identify the accused. The police also slapped additional charges under Section 4 of the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961, which deals with assault on doctors.
On September 29, minutes after several bodies started reaching the casualty ward, the hospital decided to circulate the photos of the 22 victims to the police and print them on flex to facilitate quick identification. “We wanted to spare the relatives the trauma of physically seeing the bodies to identify their kin,” said Dr Pathak said. Many, however, termed the hospital’s move as “insensitive”.