3 traffic policemen hurt after mourners turn violent

Outpouring of grief: Residents of Nehru Nagar on Tuesday take part in the funeral procession of a man from their locality who had committed suicide on October 13.

Outpouring of grief: Residents of Nehru Nagar on Tuesday take part in the funeral procession of a man from their locality who had committed suicide on October 13.  

Protesters pelted stones after police resorted to lathi charge

Three traffic police officers were injured when police personnel tried to disperse hundreds of Nehru Nagar residents, who had staged a sit-in on Sion-Chembur road on Tuesday afternoon with the body of a suicide victim.

The protest took a violent turn when the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd. The protesters started pelting stones at the police and their vehicles. A police van and a public transport bus were damaged in the incident. The police were finally able to send the protesters away.

According to the Chembur police, the residents were on their way to attend the cremation of Pancharam Rithadia (40), a resident of their locality who had committed suicide on October 13. An officer said, “Rithadia had killed himself at Tilak Nagar railway station. He had left behind a suicide note in which he mentioned the names of five people, whom he claimed were behind his 17-year-old daughter’s disappearance.”

The police said Rithadia’s daughter has been missing since April and a complaint was registered with the Nehru Nagar police. The officer said, “After Rithadia committed suicide, his family members refused to claim his body. Thakkar Bappa Colony in Nehru Nagar, where Rithadia used to stay, has been on edge since then.”

The officer said Rithadia’s son Sunil finally consented to claim the body on Tuesday. The mortal remains were taken to the house for friends and family members to pay their final respects. The body was then taken for cremation and nearly 2,000 residents of the area joined the funeral procession.

Refusing to budge

The officer said, “Tempers were still high and it was unclear what sparked off the agitation. The mourners placed the body on the busy junction and sat on the road. It is at this junction that vehicles from Kurla take a turn to head towards Chembur. We had deployed police personnel as a precautionary measure. The police officers and traffic police personnel on duty at the junction tried reasoning with the protesters to end the agitation.”

The protesters refused to budge in spite of the police issuing them repeated warnings and traffic came to a standstill on Eastern Express Highway. Senior police inspector Jayprakash Bhosale said, “Some protesters became aggressive and assaulted our personnel while they were reasoning with them. This led us to resort to a mild lathi charge.”

The three injured traffic police personnel have been admitted to Surana Hospital in Chembur. A doctor at the hospital said the officers have sustained multiple injuries but their condition is stable. The doctor said, “One of the patients, Suresh Pawar, sustained an injury to the right upper limb. The second patient, Shamrao Gorad, had a head injury, which had to be sutured. The third patient sustained blunt trauma on the neck and back.”

The Chembur police are in the process of registering an offence against the protesters. Bandobast has been deployed and patrolling stepped up in Thakkar Bappa Colony, the officers said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:57:25 PM |

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