A man was killed in Bandra-Kurla Complex after a disagreement over a redevelopment project turned violent on Friday night. Seven persons, including the husband of a local corporator, were arrested on Saturday in connection with the case.
The deceased has been identified as Aamir Shaikh (56), a resident of Bharat Nagar slum.
The violence started after Mohammad Rafique Sayyed, another slum resident, posted a video on his Facebook page on Thursday, criticising AIMIM corporator Gulnaz Qureshi and a builder appointed by the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) to redevelop the slum colony in phases.
The police said that a section of residents, along with Gulnaz Qureshi and the builder, have set up a housing society to ensure the participation of the residents in the SRA project. Many others, including Sayyed and his friend Aamir Shaikh alias Babubhai, have described the society as illegal and alleged that it was acting against the interests of the residents.
Sayyed, a self-proclaimed RTI activist, and Shaikh, who works as a driver, had set up another housing society to look into the redevelopment and appointed themselves as its office-bearers. Both sides regularly traded allegations against each other, the police added.
In his video, Sayyed had claimed that Gulnaz Qureshi is on the payroll of the builder and is turning a blind eye to alleged illegalities that are being committed as part of the project. The police said the video angered Qureshi’s husband, Saalim Qureshi, who allegedly marched to Sayyed’s home at 10.45 pm on Friday with at least 20 men.
“As the accused began to assault Sayyed, Shaikh tried to help him. Someone in the mob punched Shaikh in the face and he fell to the ground, while others kicked him and hit him with iron rods,” said Kalpana Gadekar, senior inspector, BKC police.
After the mob dispersed, residents rushed Sayyed, Shaikh and his friend Tariq Ali Khan to a nearby hospital, where Shaikh was declared dead upon arrival. A postmortem revealed that he had not suffered any loss of blood, leading the police to believe that he may have died as a result of internal injuries. Gadekar said that a detailed postmortem report is awaited.
Soon after news of Shaikh’s death spread, irate Bharat Nagar residents stormed the police station.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Paramjit Dahiya, who is holding charge of Zone VIII, requested additional security after the crowd refused to leave. “Barricades had to be erected at the entrance to the police station after protesters, demanding the arrest of the accused, and alleging corruption on part of the police, threatened to rush inside,” Gadekar said.
The crowd dispersed only in the wee hours of Saturday once the police assured them of action.
Later on Saturday, seven persons, including Saalim Qureshi, the main accused, were arrested and booked on charges of committing murder, voluntarily causing hurt, rioting and being part of an unlawful assembly. “Other members of the mob are being identified… Police presence inside Bharat Nagar has been stepped up,” said Gadekar.
Despite repeated attempts, Gulnaz Qureshi could not be contacted for comments.
The police said that Sayyed and Khan were discharged from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries.