General Sikh Samaritans Rescue NRI, Family From Mob


Sikh Samaritans rescue NRI, family from mob
Samod Sarngan
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 04:12 IST

A South African family living in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai had a narrow escape from a mob that attacked them following a misunderstanding in a Nerul mall on Sunday night.

The family got a second life when four Sikhs jumped in to shield them from the mob. In fact, a day after the incident, the Sikhs continued to offer their support to the dishevelled NRI family.

Selvin Chetty had gone with his wife and two children to D-Mart in Nerul to purchase some biscuits but got caught in a communication gap with a saleswoman at the counter.

“In order to show her the particular brand of biscuit he wanted, Chetty caught hold of her hand, causing confusion among the shoppers, who beat up him,” Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Ramrao Wagh told DNA.

Soon a mob, mostly Nerul residents, started raining blows on Chetty. But the assault on Chetty and his desperate attempts to flee from his attackers caught the eye of Gurinder Singh, who too was shopping with his family.

Rushing to the rescue, Singh warded off the mob and tried to fathom the reason for its fury. When he realised that Chetty was innocent and his life was in danger, Singh, his brother, and their friends formed a wall around Chetty and his wife. Like the Chettys, the Sikh families, too, live in Kharghar.

“We couldn’t stand mute witness to the injustice being done to the couple,” said Singh, a transporter. Denying the charge levelled by D-Mart staff that Chetty tried to molest the saleswoman, he said, “We were there. No such thing happened.”

According to Singh, the mob decided to teach the NRI couple a lesson “as they couldn’t converse in Hindi and the mob didn’t understand English”. “They pleaded for mercy, but the mob was unrelenting,” he said.

When Chetty ran out of the mall to save himself, the Sikhs kept pace with him. After the mall management pulled down the shutters, they threw a cordon around the couple.

“If it hadn’t been for the Sikh gentlemen, we wouldn’t have survived the mob violence,” Chetty’s wife Priscilla said tearfully a day after the incident.