Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
Pune: The murder of a software professional in a suspected hate crime amid protests over derogatory pictures of Maratha icon Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Facebook has left the peace loving city shocked.
28-year-old Shaikh Mohasin Sadiqwas murdered by persons with suspected links to a radical Hindu outfit - Hindu Rashtra Sena.
Shaikh, who hailed from Solapur, worked as a IT manager in private firm in the city. On Monday evening, he was returning home on a bike. Sporting a beard and a Pathani kurta, Shaikh was waylaid by a mob in Hasapsar and bludgeoned to death.
Acting swiftly the police made fresh arrests late last night to nab 17 out of the 20 suspects in the crime. Among those arrested is Dhananjay Desai, chief of Hindu Rashtra Sena, who has various criminal cases against him.
Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur said today authorities are mulling invoking the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (MPDAA) making it difficult for them to secure bail.
The newly elected BJP MP from Pune Anil Shirole today made a controversial statement that though the incident (murder) was "unfortunate" the repercussions of the derogatory post were "natural".
"What happened is unfortunate but after the Facebook post some repercussion was natural," he said, but hastened to add "all efforts are being made for restoring peace in Pune, people there want peace."
A little known organisation, Hindu Rashtra Sena is rightwing outfit known for its extreme views.
Soon after they committed they crime, the killers reportedly exchanged an SMS which said, ‘Pahili wicket padli’ (the first wicket has fallen).
“The message was circulated immediately after about 25 members of the Hindu extremist outfit allegedly bludgeoned Shaikh to death,” Pune joint commissioner of police Sanjay Kumar was quoted as saying by a newspaper.
Police said the case was handed over to Crime Branch and they have appealed to citizens not to believe or spread rumours as the situation is peaceful.
Known as the `Oxford of the East`, Pune has always been considered as a safe city despite the huge influx of people from other parts of the state and the country.
However, the recent tension over the derogatory FB posts has come as a rude jolt to the peace loving Puneites.
“I love my city and its culture. It is unnerving to see tensions flare up, leading to the murder of a young man,” said a resident.