Eknath, the cousin of 26/11 martyr Tukaram Omble, was part of the mob that protested outside advocate Anjali Waghmare’s house late on Monday night. Tukaram, an assistant sub-inspector, was killed by Mohammed Amir Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist apprehended alive and whom the court asked Waghmare to represent.
On Tuesday, the Worli police arrested nine Shiv Sena members, including Eknath, for leading the protest. Among those arrested were three women.
The 60-strong mob had surrounded Shyama, the building in which Waghmare resides, and raised slogans against Kasab, Pakistan and her. The protestors threatened Waghmare with dire consequences if she defended Kasab. Police had to resort to a lathi charge to disperse the mob.
Ashok Phatak, a relative of Tukaram, told Hindustan Times: “Waghmare is the wife of a police officer and a resident of our colony. It was insensitive of her to agree to defend Kasab. She would not have done so had she lost a family member in the attack. Even we know Kasab won’t be punished till he gets a lawyer. We wouldn’t have had a problem if it was any other lawyer.”
Added Kavita, wife of Eknath, a vada pav seller, “I support the protest. How could Waghmare, being part of the police fraternity that lost 16 members in the attacks, defend a terrorist?”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Suhas Warke said the mob included wives and family members of police officials, apart from local residents. “Having gheraoed Waghmare’s building, some of them tried to break into her house,” Warke added.
Among those arrested were Sena’s Worli vibhag pramukh Madhukar Dalvi, regional organiser of the Sena Women’s Front Kishori Pednekar and former Sena corporator Vatsala Jadhav. They were charged with rioting, trespassing, threatening and preventing a legal representative from discharging her duties.
Waghmare has been given police protection. “We have also recommended to the state that she be given an escort vehicle,” Warke said.
State Home minister Jayant Patil said Additional Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had got in touch with Waghmare and offered police protection. “Strict action is being taken against those who attacked her house,” Patil told Hindustan Times.
The Bhoiwada Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court remanded all nine accused to police custody for a day.