On 28 January 2009,90-year-old Narsingh Dube of Nallasopara died at Leelavati Hospital. His funeral was attended by the common folk,businessmen,members of the medical fraternity,academics and many others of the region.
The six-foot-plus,heavily built man with a radiant face commanded respect. His awe-inspiring physique was toughened by years of dominating the akharas. But more than his physique,it was his extraordinary courage,wisdom and strong spirit that people of the region would remember.
And it was his spirit that made him take on the might of a powerful gang. Between 1984 and 1992,20 murders bloodied Vasai region due to property disputes and the accused in all the cases were either Bhai Thakur or members of his gang. In most cases,Thakur and his associates were acquitted for want of evidence. But one case that of the murder of Suresh Dube (1989) became a thorn in the flesh of the Bhai Thakur gang. While he and four others are facing trial in the case,six of the gang members have been convicted under TADA for the murder of Suresh.
Suresh was Narsingh Dubes son. When our brother Suresh was murdered in October 1989,we were shattered. It was our father who held us together, recalls Shyamsunder Dube,the oldest of the five brothers.
Though Narsingh was educated only up to standard III,his children remember him as a person whose wisdom surpassed that of all others in the family. After Suresh was murdered,the family was threatened by the mafia and some policemen,a fact chronicled in the Supreme Court judgment while convicting the six accused in 2000. When Suresh was murdered,the family was shocked and frightened.
Justice for Suresh was a far-fetched thought. It was at this juncture that Narsinghs spirit and his wisdom came in handy and it helped the family to carry on the fight despite the odds,recalls Dr Omprakash Dube,Narsinghs son.
In 1997,when the TADA court in Pune acquitted all the 17 accused,there was gloom in the Dube household. We were crying like children. It was only due to the motivation by our parents that we mustered courage to contest the acquittal. Three years later,we got justice in the Supreme Court. We have now set a precedent in the region where scores of crimes are forgotten,without any hope for justice. Our father wanted justice for his son and he partially achieved it, said Shyamsunder Dube.