Educated Assailants: Mob Justice Claims Lives of Two Innocent Men in Kolkata

Kolkata's twin mob lynchings claimed the lives of Md Irshad and Prasenjit Mondal over theft suspicion. Irshad’s brutal death in a hostel has sparked outrage, with calls for justice against the educated perpetrators

Kolkata: Within two days, Kolkata witnessed two mob lynchings, both triggered over suspicion of phone theft. While Md Irshad was beaten to death in Central Kolkata, Prasenjit Mondal was also beaten to death in Salt Lake. Irshad was assaulted in a hostel by students and guards, and Mondal was beaten by his neighbours, three members of the same family, on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

eNewsroom has reached out to the family and employer of Irshad to know the reality of the theft accusation and if there is any history of it.

Thirty-seven-year-old Md Irshad was an honest man, who wouldn’t resort to stealing. On the contrary, he was a man who wouldn’t shy away from doing petty jobs to earn a few extra bucks, which is how his employer, Md Imran Alam, remembers him.

Irshad had been working as a TV mechanic at his shop for almost 17 years.

A resident of Belgachia, Irshad would often leave his home in the wee hours to take up menial jobs like washing cars, and bikes, sweeping, or even doubling up as a porter before reaching the Chandi Chowk shop, where he worked.

“If he was a thief, I would have sacked him long ago. He was honest and hard-working,” said Imran.
The shop owner was the last person that Irshad contacted when he was forcibly detained inside Udayan Hostel by its residents.

Recalling the incident, Imran said, “A frantic Irshad had contacted me and pleaded to bring Rs 10,000 to the hostel. He told me that if I failed to do so, the boys would kill him.”

Following the call, Imran reached Bowbazar Police Station and then began a frantic search for the hostel. “It took us 30 minutes to locate the hostel, which was locked from inside. It took another 30 minutes for the police to enter the hostel. Irshad was almost 80 per cent dead when we managed to rescue him. We rushed him to Medical College, where he was declared dead within a few hours,” he mentioned.

When asked if he could have stolen the mobile, he said, “He was employed in my shop for 17 years. He was an honest, hard-working man. I believe he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. But one thing I am sure of is that Irshad was anything but a thief.”

Echoing a similar note, his landlord Zarrar Babu said, “He was a hardworking man. He was the sole breadwinner of his family. We have known him and his family for over 50 years.”

He then asked, “Those arrested are educated men, even if they had suspected him of having stolen the mobile, then they should have handed him over to the police. Why lynch him to death? Do they have no faith in the system?”

“He was beaten brutally with bats and hockey sticks by students residing in the hostel. I am shocked by the brutality inflicted on my husband by educated people. Fourteen people have been arrested. I want them to be punished,” said his wife Salma.

The victim is survived by his wife, two kids– a 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, and a divorced sister.
The preliminary autopsy report indicates that Irshad had died of excessive internal bleeding.

“He had bruises all over his body. His left leg was fractured. They had brutally assaulted him,” said Zarrar.
According to the surgeon who conducted the autopsy, repeated hits had led to internal bleeding.

All 14 accused are aged between 21-28 years, with the prime accused being a 27-year-old youth who holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and was working as a guard at the hostel.

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