25-year-old Saif Ali Shaikh has been arrested for murdering a neighbour almost twice his age. It is said that Surendra Gaud (47) was murdered by the accused in a fit of rage after the latter allegedly refused to reduce the volume at which he was listening to songs on his tape recorder.
The incident took place at Ekta chawl society in Ambujwadi, Malwani in Malad (West) at 10 pm on Wednesday night. Malwani has been in the news recently for an exodus of Hindus due to sustained persecution by Islamist elements in the Muslim-dominated area.
The area is reported to be a stronghold of 3-time Congress MLA from Malad West Assembly Constituency, Aslam Shaikh, who is also the Minister of Textile, Fisheries and Port development, Government of Maharashtra. Congress is currently in power in Maharashtra in alliance with NCP and Shive Sena.
Surendra Gaud and Shaikh both worked as labourers.
“The deceased was listening to songs on his tape recorder outside his home. The accused asked him to lower the volume and this led to a fight between them. The victim suffered head injuries and was declared brought dead at a hospital,” said a police officer quoted by Indian Express.
Shaikh has been arrested under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder on a complaint by Gaud’s wife. “He was produced before a magistrate court and remanded to our custody,” said Arjuna Rajane, police inspector, crime, Malwani police station.
The Indian Express report claims a police official said ‘Shaikh’s intention was not to murder Gaud’ but the latter suffered grievous head injuries, which led to his death.
If true, it is extraordinary for police to give such statements even before a full investigation is conducted, as this is virtually giving an escape route to the accused to plea for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Whether a police official truly made this statement or it was fabricated by Indian Express, a known anti-Hindu propaganda outlet with poor journalistic ethics, remains to be seen.
With regards to the Hindu exodus from Malwani, MLA Mangal Lodha had spoken in Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha a few months back:
“There is a pattern to this Hindu exodus. They are being threatened and intimidated to leave their houses. A concerted attempt is being made to evict them. Just like Kashmir, Kairana witnessed the exodus of Hindus, Malvani in Mumbai is also witnessing the same.
If you look at the Vidhan Sabha voters list in Malad-Malvani region, the number of Hindu voters have reduced by about 15,000 while the Muslim voters have risen by 12,000….Hindus in Malvani are being persecuted through a planned conspiracy which entails removing them so that Rohingya Muslims, Bangladeshis, and others could be settled. In Chheda Nagar of Malvani, more than half of 108 Hindu families who used to stay earlier had left the neighborhood.”
Lodha also spoke about the posters of Prabhu Sri Ram being torn by police officials in Malvani. The posters had been put up by Hindus during a fund collection drive for the Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. He said not only did police personnel tear the posters to bits, but they also filed an FIR against those who reported the incident.
In February, a Hindu man barely escaped being lynched by a Muslim mob in Chheda Nagar (Complex) of Malwani. The incident caused the man’s terrified mother to consider returning to their native village. Police response back then too was one of apathy.