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Pune: 17 arrested in IT professional's death, residents live in unease

Pune: 17 arrested in IT professional's death, residents live in unease

Police have arrested 17 people suspected to be associated with Hindu Rashtra Sena for allegedly beating an IT professional to death.

Pune: The suspected case of hate crime in Pune has shown the ugly intolerant face of India. The Pune Police has arrested 17 people suspected to be associated with a right wing group, Hindu Rashtra Sena, for allegedly beating a 24-year-old IT professional, Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, to death in Pune on Monday.

The attack has brought a sense of unease among the people of the city. "This has never happened before. We were never scared before. But we are scared now," the IT official's friend of Amin Shaikh said.

While Amin never thought he would feel this way in his own country, the attack has etched a lasting imprint on his memory. His friend was attacked in retaliation to objectionable pictures which circulated in social media.

The police said that according to the CCTV footage, the mob was roaming the area where Mohsin was killed with hockey sticks. The picture sparked unrest in Osmanabad which later spiraled to others parts of Maharashtra.

"We still need to recover items like motorcycle. This is important for our investigation. But all the accused have admitted that they are members of Hindu Rashtra Sena," ACP Pune Police Gopinath Patil said.

Intervening in the matter, the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Pune Police to submit a report over the incident. Considering the gravity of the situation, the city commissioner has requested for the stringent Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act to be invoked.

"We are not fearing. We are ready to handle the situation," Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur said.

Social activists too, are demanding swift action from the government in the case. "This is not a stray incident some other instances of people from a particular community being targeted were also reported. The government needs to act swiftly and strongly as we have seen what happened in Muzzafarnagar before elections," social activist Javed Anand said.

While top officials admit that it is not an easy task to monitor social networking sites, the question also remains on whether the onus lies only with the governing authorities. The authorities maintain that such issues will continue to crop up if the society is not sensitised through adequate awareness programmes.

It remains to be seen whether this brutal incident will act as an eye opener for a society that is increasingly crossing the limits of intolerance.
first published:June 05, 2014, 21:47 IST