Two brothers – aged 13 and 9 – pleaded and cried as they watched a group of men beat their father to death in central Delhi, in one of the worst cases of road rages in the national capital in recent times.
Shahnawaz, a 38-year-old scrap dealer, had allegedly incurred the wrath of the assailants after his motorbike grazed their car in the midst of a wedding procession near the Turkman Gate in Daryaganj on Sunday night, the police said.
“We pleaded with them to let go of papa. We begged, cried, but they kept hitting him,” said a distraught Fahaad, the elder of the two brothers.
While his younger brother rushed to alert the family, Fahaad requested two patrolling policemen for help but they refused, Fahaad said.
“They told us to settle the matter among ourselves. By the time we returned, the men had fled and our father was lying bloodied on the road,” Fahaad added.
The family rushed Shahnawaz to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. Shahnawaz was returning home with his two sons when the incident happened.
The incident sparked tension in the Walled City after angry relatives tried to set fire to the house of one of the suspects.
Protesting family-members, relatives and neighbours also staged protests on Monday against alleged police inaction, blocking several roads.
Day-long jams were reported on the outer ring road, Vikas Marg and also on the roads leading to ITO, railway stations and Connaught Place.
“Shahnawaz was beaten to death by five people. One of the accused, Mohammed Wasim, has been arrested and the hunt is on for the remaining four,” Delhi Police chief BS Bassi told media.
Police said five teams have been deployed to nab the four absconding suspects.
The victim’s family said Wasim was not the “real culprit” and suspected the involvement of the local land mafia in Shahnawaz’s death. They also accused police of shielding the assailants for their political connections.
Bassi said, “the case is one of road rage but personal enmity is also being probed.”
Police are also looking into CCTV footage from the area to ascertain the chain of events which led to the tragedy.
Local political leaders also joined the angry protesters, alleging that the accused were members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Former Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal said AAP MLA and environment minister Asim Ahmed Khan was shielding accused.
The AAP MLA, however, denied the allegations.
“As soon as I heard about the incident at 2am, I went to meet the family. I was in the area till 6 am talking to the residents and talking to the police. I demanded a fair and speedy probe into the incident and that the guilty are caught as soon as possible. No member of any other party was present at that time,” he said.