The family of a 40-year-old taxi driver, who was stabbed to death by a group of over 20 men, has alleged that local police who were present at the spot did not do anything to stop the assault.
Afzal Ibrahim Shaikh was stabbed to death in Dharavi on Friday. His 18-year-old son Fardeen, the main eyewitness in the case, said even though police were present at the spot, they did nothing to stop the assault. “If they had done their job my father would have been alive today,” Fardeen told The Indian Express.
The family lives in a ground-plus-one structure at Kumbhawada area of Dharavi. According to Fardeen, around 10 pm on Friday, the family members were sitting in an open space when a police constable asked them to leave. They subsequently dispersed but Afzal stepped out again after some time. “Around 11.30 pm, the beat marshall came to the spot again and while my brother was talking to a constable, a group of more than 20 men came from behind and attacked him with swords, knives and sickles,” said his brother Asif.
Fardeen and his cousin brother Aman rushed to save him but were also attacked. “Some members of the group surrounded us, while others assaulted my father. When I tried to save him, they attacked us as well,” said Fardeen. He and Aman suffered deep cuts on their hands.
He claimed while one constable present at the spot swung his lathi in the air, another policemen stood at the end of the lane. “They both did not stop the attack,” he alleged.
Fardeen along with a relative rushed Afzal to Sion hospital on his bike, where he was declared dead on arrival. “No one came to help us. It was after we reached the hospital that the police came and registered a case of murder and rioting against 20-odd men,” said Asif.
When asked whether the family wants an inquiry against the two policemen, Asif said, “We are in no situation to demand anything. If they had to, they could have helped us then. Our family is already in grief and we want them to nab the culprits.” The family claimed it was threatened by cops not to name the policemen at the spot. Dharavi police, however, claimed they went to the area after they got a call from locals that there was a fight between Afzal and one person named Furkan. “We got the call around 10 pm after which a team was sent. After our beat marshalls reached the spot, they were told the fight had been resolved following which they left,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (Kurla division) Ravindra Patil.
Police have so far arrested five men and claimed both Afzal and Furkan were history sheeters and friends earlier. However, there was a dispute after they bought a property together and since two years there had been a constant tussle between them, police claimed.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone V) Niyati Thakker refuted allegations that policemen were present at the spot. She said, “The incident happened very quickly. Our men were not there at the spot but were deployed at a distance.”
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