Mangalore : On July 21, Mohammad Mashood, a 19-year-old young man, while undergoing treatment at the First Neuro Hospital in Mangalore breathed his last. He was attacked by a group of Hindu men with a soda bottle on his head on July 19.
The incident took place at Kalanja village in Sullia taluk, Karnataka.
Though the eight accused in the murder – Abhilash, Sunil, Sudhir, Shiva, Ranjith, Sadashiva, Jim Ranjith, and Bhaskar – are currently under judicial custody. Six of them belong to the right-wing organisation Bajrang Dal.
Shanif, Mashood’s childhood friend who was present when the fight took place and who also received several injuries. Shanif recounted the events that took place on that fateful day.
“Earlier in the day, Mashood and Sudhir had a scuffle at a grocery shop. Mashood was going out of the shop while Sudhir was entering. Both of them touched each other slightly. A fight followed between the two that soon turned violent,” said Shanif.
The fight was soon resolved by others who were at the shop and both were dispersed.
On the same night, Sunil, one of the accused in the case, knocked at Shanif’s door. Sunil wanted the latter to get Mashood so that issue could be solved amicably.
Doubtful and hesitant, Shanif refused. After much coaxing and making promises on their temple, Vishnu Nagar by Sunil, Shanif agreed.
“I thought why would they lie by making promises on their temple,” said Shanif.
Shanif went to Mashood’s house and promised Mashood’s worried mother that nothing will happen to her son.
Mashood had returned from Kochi after working there as a juice maker. He was living with his family – four siblings, a mother, and a grandmother – for nearly a month. His father had long passed away.
“We were supposed to travel together to Bengaluru the next day. I had secured a job and told Mashood to find one for him too,” sighs Shanif.
As the friends reached the spot at around 11 pm, without any warning the group attacked Mashood. A shocked Shanif tried to rescue his friend by using his body as a shield.
“All of a sudden Mashood was hit on his head by a soda bottle. I screamed at Mashood to run away,” said Shanif.
The news spread throughout the village and Mashood’s Uncle (mother’s brother) came rushing to the spot. The police arrived and tried to calm the fight.
“We started looking for Mashood everywhere for nearly two hours. We soon found him laying unconscious near a well. Blood was oozing from his head,” recalls Shanif.
Shanif and Mashood’s uncle rushed Mashood to the KVG hospital from where the 19-year-old was referred to the First Neuro Hospital in Mangaluru.
“The doctors told us that there is less per cent chance of Mashood surviving. Eighty per cent of his brain was damaged. He was put on a ventilator the next day.
However, Mashood lost the battle of life and succumbed to injuries on July 21.
Shanif tells Siasat.com that he could never imagine that the attackers would lie after promising on their temple. “I knew these people very well. Our houses are nearby,” he said.
Asked if he has met Mashood’s family after the incident, Shanif said, “I do not have the courage to face his mother. After all, it was I who took Mashood out that night.”
When Mashood was fighting for his life, none of the ruling state government members came to visit him. A constable from the Bellare police station who spoke to Siasat.com, U T Khader, the Congress MLA from Mangaluru visited Mashood and consoled the family.
According to the police official, such incidents are rare in Kalanja village. “There was a protest by some right-wing organisation following the Udaipur beheading but mostly it’s a peaceful village,” said the constable.