AT 9.30 pm on October 10, a naked man created havoc in the tiny village of Zari in Palghar district’s Talasari town. Within 15 minutes, he barged into a home, causing the women there to flee, broke through the door of another house after being trapped inside, before he was hit on the neck with a sickle by a farmer leading to his death. While the accused is in jail, no one knows the name of the man who died.
The village where the incident took place is located along the Talasari-Umbergaon Road near Gujarat border.
Later, police found a bicycle that was parked 200 m away from the village, a white shirt and pair of black trousers lying on the ground near it. “We don’t even know whether the cycle and the clothes belonged to the deceased. He came to the village out of nowhere,” said Inspector Kailas Barve, Talasari police station.
The deceased had a trishul tattooed on the right side of his neck, the face of Gautam Buddha etched on the inside of his left forearm and Jay Bhim inscribed further up. “There are marks of multiple faiths on the body,” said Barve.
He has reached out to the local Buddhist community in Palghar and the adjoining districts to look for clues. This is in addition to the standard procedure of looking through records of missing persons in Palghar, Thane Rural district, Thane City and Mumbai. No one has come forward and identified the man whose sketch has been printed on posters put up at railway stations and bus stands.
The posters describe the man as being slim, aged between 30 and 40 years, with light brown skin and two inch long hair.
The accused, farmer Sandeep Sabar, is in jail. Sabar (23), was among the first to respond to the cries of his family members in Karvanti Pada after the man had entered their home.
“Only the sisters-in-law of the accused were at home and they were scared to see the man. He appeared to be mentally unstable and the women feared that he would attack them,” Barve said.
The women fled from the rear door with the man chasing them. After chasing them around a mango tree, the man was locked up inside an outhouse, as the commotion brought other villagers rushing to the spot.
Just as the villagers thought that the man had been caught, he allegedly broke the door. “That part of Talasari gets very poor electricity supply. That night it was completely dark because it was a no-moon night and there was no power. But the moment the man stormed out of the outhouse, the lights came on and Sabar was able to see him properly. He struck him on the neck with his sickle,” said Barve.
The police have made inquiries at factories in nearby Umbergaon that employs thousands of local people and migrant labourers. But no one has reported a missing person.
“We have also been looking at temples in the area and in Vapi to find if anyone matching the description of the deceased had been spotted there,” said Assistant Police Inspector Ravindra Narote.
The police are not certain about how the man reached the village and despite being without clothes, why was he not spotted on the way.
“The Talasari-Umbergaon Road, along which the village is located, doesn’t get much traffic at night. We are exploring the possibility of the man having taken a bus, instead of arriving there in his own vehicle. At the moment, all we know for sure is that the man was not from Zari or any village that is nearby” Narote said.