A Chembur-based man who was returning home from his village located in Sindhudurg's Kankavli city, along with his wife and daughter on the train, were allegedly beaten up and harassed by the right-wing mob who forced them to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
The incident was first reported to Panvel Railway Police Station on January 20 by Jasmin Shaikh, wife of Asif Ahmed Shaikh. According to Jasmin (27), they were in the Madgaon-LTT Express train, sitting on their seats, when a group of 30 to 40 “students” sitting on the same coach, started to shout– Jai Shree Ram slogans. Jasmin, who was wearing a burqa, was told to repeat the slogans, and so was Asif. When they didn’t respond, Jasmin said they started misbehaving and even threw a cup of tea at their child. “Me and my husband begged them, with hands joined, but they didn’t bother to listen. They started to hit me, my husband and even my child,” said Jasmin in her written statement to the Panvel railway police, of which the Free Press Journal has a copy.
Later, because of the jurisdiction, the matter was transferred to Kankavli police. The Shaikh family was called to Kankavli police station to give their statements. They went back to Kankavli, to their house, to get fresh and go back to the police station. Asif was sitting outside his house when a mob consisting of at least 15 to 20 people came to him asking about the police complaint and threatened him to take the case back. “They told me how dare I go against their leader by registering a police complaint. And then they told me to say Jai Shree Ram, and soon after they all started to gang up and began to thrash me,” said Asif in the FIR registered at Kankavli police station on January 25.
After this incident, Jasmin who heard Asif’s voice, called up the local police and by the time the police jeep arrived, the mob ran away. Police escorted the couple to the police station and also to a hospital to give Asif treatments. According to his medical report, he had suffered injuries on his legs, arms, neck, back and head due to the mob attack. Out of the many people who were in the mob, Asif recognized 11 of them, who were identified as Sonu Sawant, Amol Bondre, Hanumant Bondre, Nilesh Desai, Mangesh Kadam, Mahesh Gurav, Rohit Thakur, Vijay Ingle, Pappu Pujare, Pappu Yadav and Santosh Kande.
They were all booked under sections 295A (injuring or defiling a place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class), 504 (intentional insult), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by means of dangerous weapons), 147 (rioting), 144 (unlawful assembly with deadly weapon), 143 (unlawful assembly), among others of the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Police Act. Police are yet to make any arrests in the case.
Meanwhile, a man named Santosh Pujari from Kankavli has registered a cross FIR against a man named Salman Sheikh and Asif. The FIR was registered on the same day as Asif's FIR on January 25. According to Pujari, Sheikh uploaded a social media post on his Instagram which hurt the sentiments of Hindus - which he did days before the inauguration of Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Pujari added that they wanted to "politely" tell Sheikh that his post was causing unrest in the village when Asif first attacked them. Asif and Sheikh were charged with sections 295A, 324 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.