A 24-year-old techie was killed allegedly by members of a right-wing outfit in Pune on Monday night. Police stated that Mohsin Shaikh, an IT professional who hails from Solapur, was beaten to death when he was on his way back home from evening prayers. Police said that the incident is a fallout of the high communal tensions in the city after morphed derogatory photos of Maratha king Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray were posted on Facebook.
Fourteen people from the radical right-wing outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena have been arrested. They will be produced in court today.
“On Monday evening, there were rumours circulated through the social media that stones were pelted at a Shivaji statue. This led a group of youths from the Hindu Rashtra Sena to take to the streets. They targeted Muslim settlements,” a senior police official said. “Motorcycles that were found at the place where Mohsin was beaten up led to the suspects,” DCP Manoj Patil stated.
Mohsin was with his friend Riyaz when he was attacked. Speaking to The Hindu , Riyaz said, “I was saved because I don't have a beard, and wasn't wearing a skullcap. Mohsin was targetted because he looked like a Muslim.” He stated that Mohsin was beaten as he ran from the spot to seek help. He was admitted to a private hospital, and succumbed to serious injuries on Tuesday.
Police have also arrested Dhananjay Desai, the chief of the Hindu Rashtra Sena in connection with another case.
Police have claimed that morphed photos of Shivaji and Bal Thackeray originated from Osmanabad district in Maharashtra. Several right wing organisations vandalised more than 200 buses in the city last week, protesting the derogatory nature of the photos. Police have appealed for calm, even as efforts to stop the spread of rumours are underway.
This article has been corrected for a factual error.