At least 20 persons, most of them women, were injured when the city police resorted to lathi charge to control a rowdy mob who had entered the district court premises here on Monday. The agitated mob demanded the hanging of the notorious criminal, Akram Sheikh alias Bhuru, for molestation and raping of young women of Vasantrao Naik slum area.
Fed up with the terror of Akram and his brother, Iqbal Sheikh, a group of 300 slum women had lynched Iqbal after chasing him for half a kilometer and mercilessly beating up Akram on October 10 last year near the Sitabuldi police station. Akram later took refuge inside the police station to avoid public wrath. It was said that Akram and Iqbal, both slum lords , had made their life hell and forced them to live under constant fear.
Akram, who is now in judicial custody, was brought to the court on Monday afternoon for hearing. When the slum dwellers learnt about this, a group of around 300 women gathered at the court. They entered the court premises and demanded that Akram be hanged, or handed over to them.
The city police requested the mob to allow the court to punish the criminal and assured them to protect them from such criminals in future. However, the relentless mob insisted for hanging of the criminal and even tried to get hold of Akram from the police custody.
As the mob threatened to break loose, the police resorted to lathi charge to control the mob. The mob, in retaliation, pelted stones on the police. The irate mob went berserk and damaged at least half a dozen vehicles, including a city bus. Around 20 persons, including two policemen, were injured in the incident. “The police have arrested as many as 19 persons in this connection so far,” informed Mangaljit Siram, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP).
The women’s violent act of vengeance in October last year brought back memories of the infamous Akku Yadav killing case of Nagpur who was similarly hacked to death by a group of women on the court premises a few years ago. Yadav had 23 cases of extortion, murder, rape and attempt to murder registered against him. He was placed under preventive detention five times since 1998. The women of Kasturba Nagar here had claimed that Yadav had raped a number of women of the colony, but was never convicted. And the reason, he was always close to the police.