New Delhi: A spat over yielding space in a traffic jam ended fatally for a middle-aged motorcyclist, who was beaten to death by five people even as his sons, who witnessed the entire incident, unsuccessfully tried to get police to intervene. One of the accused was arrested on Monday.
Shahnawaz, a resident of Mata Sundari Road in central Delhi, was returning home from a family function with his two sons on a motorbike, when it was hit by a car near Turkman Gate in Daryaganj, police said.
The incident took place around 11.30 p.m. on Sunday. Shahnawaz owned an electrical shop on Mata Sundari Road while his parents lived near Turkman Gate in the old quarter of Delhi, barely a few metres from the accident spot.
Alleging police inaction, nearly 300 of Shahnawaz's family members, relatives and neighbours, including burkha-clad women, sat on protest on the busy road demanding action against the accused, who they alleged were local builders.
The women had formed a human chain in the protest area.
Soon after the incident on Sunday night, the family members and relatives had gathered and protested against the authorities.
They also set on fire some vehicles near the alleged accused's residence in Turkman Gate area hours after the incident.
Fearing escalation of tension on Monday, a large posse of Delhi Police personnel and paramilitary forces was deployed in the area.
Police barricaded the busy road, leading to chaos and traffic snarls.
Delhi Police Chief B.S. Bassi told the media that one person has been arrested.
"In the Turkman Gate incident, Shahnawaz was beaten to death by five people. One of the accused, Mohammed Wasim, has been arrested and the hunt for the remaining four is on," he told reporters.
According to witnesses, the incident took place near the Turkman Gate crossing.
The five men were in the car which slightly bumped into Shahnawaz's bike from the side on Sunday night.
The witnesses said the driver of the car told Shahnawaz to move his vehicle sideways, but when the victim said he was unable to do so due to heavy traffic, a heated argument ensued.
The car's occupants then came out and started beating up the victim.
Shahnawaz's sons Fahad (13) and Kaif (9), who were riding pillion, tried to rescue their father but were pushed aside and also attacked.
They pleaded with other motorists for help but no one came to their rescue.
Seeing their father being badly beaten up, the two rushed to the police post situated across the road.
The family alleged that the boys pleaded with the two policemen posted at the time to help but to no avail.
On receiving no police help, they then went running to their grandparents' house and told them about the incident.
"On receiving no help, they came running to me and said 'Abbu ki kisi se ladai ho gayi hai' (Father has got into a fight with someone)," the victim's 50-year-old mother Noorjahan told IANS.
She said that by the time the family reached the spot, it was too late.
The family members rushed the heavily bleeding Shahnawaz, who was lying on the road, to the nearby Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital where he was declared dead. The accused had fled by that time.
Crying bitterly, Noorjahan said: "I fed him food minutes before they killed him... those cruel people killed my son. They should be arrested soon."
Holding onto the blood-soaked torn black T-shirt of her son, she said: "He was on the road and foaming at the mouth..."
The victim's father, 60-year-old Salauddin, a scrap dealer, told IANS: "Shahnawaz was my eldest son. He is no more because of the barbaric act by some goons of the area."
Shahnawaz has three children - the two sons who witnessed the crime - and five-year-old daughter Talbia.
Salauddin said his 33-year-old daughter-in-law Farzana was in a state of shock.
"She has been unconscious ever since she heard about Shahnawaz's death. My two grandsons are also in a state of shock. Fahad was also hit by the goons and is extremely terrified after the incident," Salauddin told IANS.
Fahad just kept on muttering "they mercilessly beat up my father... I want justice".
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Parmaditya: "All the accused have been identified. We have arrested Wasim, one of the accused, and will soon arrest the rest."
But the victim's relatives alleged that Wasim was not the "real culprit".
"Police are trying to save the real accused by arresting other people," Suzauddin, the victim's uncle, told IANS.
According to Suzauddin and other relatives, the accused were local strongmen and are 18 brothers.