“He was disillusioned with the legal system as most accused have got bail and justice seemed be getting delayed with every development. But I will keep fighting for justice,” says Mubin Shaikh about his father Mohammed Sadiq Shaikh, who was fighting the battle for his other son Mohsin, who was allegedly murdered by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) in Pune in 2014. Mohammed Sadiq passed away in Solapur on Monday morning after a cardiac arrest. He was 63.
Mohammed Sadiq, who ran a photocopier and phone booth in Solapur in the past, was fighting the legal battle for justice for Mohsin, who was working as an engineer in a private firm in Pune and was 28 year old at the time of his death. During the communal clashes that erupted across Pune after circulation of objectionable social media posts about Chhatrapati Shivaji and late Shiv Sena president Bal Thackeray, a group of youths associated to the HRS allegedly attacked Mohsin while he was going home with friend Riyaz Mubarak Shendure after offering prayers at a mosque in Hadapsar around 9.15 pm on June 2, 2014.
After a few hours, Mohsin died while undergoing treatment at a hospital. His brother Mubin had then filed a complaint of murder at the Hadapsar police station. At the time of the attack, Mubin was at the rented room of Mohsin and had reached the spot minutes after the incident.
Police had arrested as many as 21 HRS activists, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai (34), a resident of Parmar Bungalow in Paud. While most of the accused, including the assailants. were released on bail over a period, Desai is still lodged in Yerawada jail and the matter pending before the court.
Speaking to The Indian Express at their family home in Solapur, Mubin says, “With several twists and turns in the case, my father was disillusioned with the legal system. He, who initially fought with all possible efforts, had of late started coming to terms that justice was getting delayed. Most of the accused had got bail one by one, and my father was disheartened because of that. He had felt very bad when Ujjwal Nikam left the case abruptly. But I will keep fighting for justice against all challenges. It is one unfulfilled wish of my father.”
In days after the incident, Nikam was appointed as Special Public Prosecutor in the case following a request filed by Moshin’s family to the then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. Around three years later, following a request made by Nikam, the government cancelled his appointment as SPP in the case on May 19, 2017. Then, on June 16, 2017, Mohammed Sadiq wrote to state government for appointing Rohini Salian, who had hit the headlines after she openly made allegations that NIA asked her to go soft on Hindu extremists accused in terror case. The government however appointed senior lawyer and district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar as prosecution lawyer in this case.
Mubin adds, “Mohsin had breathed his last in my arms. My father passed away while he was fighting for justice for Mohsin. Now I have to take care of my family, specially my mother and sister. Every time there used to be a festival, we used to miss Mohsin. No Eid has been the same after his death. My father was seeking closure in the fight for justice. He used to spend a lot of time studying the case, gathering material. By just being with him I have learnt a lot about the case.”
In September 2014, Mohammed Sadiq had applied for compensation under a central government scheme to compensate civilian victims of terror related violence. He had also demanded a government job for Mubin. In June this year, the government passed an order approving Rs 10 lakh for Mohsin’s family. It included an amount of Rs 5 lakh from the state government and another Rs 5 lakh from the central government.
But as government failed to give the approved money, Mohammed Sadiq moved a petition in the Bombay High Court (HC) through lawyer Afreen Khan. The petition urged the court to direct the state government to provide a compensation of Rs 30.9 lakh to Shaikh’s family and an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh. The HC slammed the government for not paying the approved money to Mohsin’s family.
Then, the state government had on November 29 told the Bombay HC that within a week, it will provide compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Mohsin’s family. The counsel for the state government then told the court that Rs 10 lakh would be handed over to the family within a week. The court directed the state to file a compliance report and posted the matter for hearing on December 7. When contacted, advocate Khan said that family has received the compensation money from government.
While the chargesheet in the case has been filed, charges are yet to be framed and trial is yet to start.