Chaos in Chembur as angry protestors resort to stone-pelting, police retaliate with lathi-charge

Chaos in Chembur as angry protestors resort to stone-pelting, police retaliate with lathi-charge
A few people attending the funeral of Pancharam Rithadia, who allegedly committed suicide after police failed to locate his missing daughter, resorted to stone-pelting near Umarshi Bappa Chowk in Chembur (Picture Courtesy: @jitzvijan03)

A funeral procession of a 42-year-old man, who allegedly committed suicide after police failed to locate his missing daughter, took a violent turn in Mumbai’s Chembur area on Tuesday after people resorted to stone-pelting.

Hundreds of people had gathered near the Umarshi Bappa Chowk near Swastik Park in Chembur earlier today for the funeral of Pancharam Rithadia, who committed suicide by jumping before a running train at Tilak Nagar last Sunday (October 13).

Rithadia had approached Nehru Nagar police six months back when his 17-year-old daughter had gone missing. Since the missing person was a minor, a case of kidnapping was registered. But to no avail.

In a suicide note, the Thakkar Bappa Colony-resident accused the cops of neglecting their duty by failing to locate his daughter and taking any action against five people linked to his daughter’s disappearance. The men were also harassing him, the family claimed.

Hundreds of people, including his relatives and other residents of Thakkar Bappa Colony, showed solidarity earlier this week by boycotting the assembly elections and holding protests in the area.

As of form of protest, Rithadia’s family also refused to claim his body from the morgue at Sion Hospital unless any action was taken. Finally, eight days after the demise, the family collected the body to conduct the final rites today.

However, the procession took a violent turn after some people started shouting slogans against the police, destroyed public property and pelted stones at cops. The stones were aimed at police personnel and vans.

Shortly after, personnel from Chembur, Govandi, and Kurla police stations arrived at the spot and resorted to lathi-charge in a bid to disperse the crowd.

“The crowd was visibly angry with the police. I saw some people throwing stones in the cops’ direction after which the situation quickly got out of hand. All traffic on the road was stopped and lathi-bearing policemen charged at the crowd to disperse them,” said one of the eye-witnesses.

At least two policemen have been reported injured and 4-5 protestors have been arrested as of publishing this report.

The movement of traffic on the route and nearby Sion-Panvel highway was disrupted following the incident, after which traffic police diverted traffic.

The situation is presently under control. Further details are awaited.

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