Thane, Oct 29: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's hate campaign against North Indians claimed the life of a 25-year-old labourer from Uttar Pradesh who was beaten up on Tuesday by Marathi-speaking youths in a local train at Khopoli station.
"Dharamdev Rai, the labourer, died two to three hours after he was admitted to a Badlapur hospital. There are no external injuries. He, along with three others, had boarded a CST-bound train at Khopoli station when they were attacked by a group of ten to 12 people. The four north Indians were punched and kicked by the group. They alighted at Badlapur station where Rai was admitted to Dubey Hospital. He died two to three hours after his admission to the hospital," A K Sharma, commissioner of the government railway police, told TOI.
Asked if it was a hate attack, Sharma said, "The three who were accompanying Rai have said that the attackers were all speaking Marathi." Sharma said Rai and the others worked in a factory in Khopoli and were going home in Uttar Pradesh.
Rai, with Veerendra Ramgopal Rai, Satyaprakash Kaushal Rai and Shivkumar Verma, hailed from Gauri Ghat in UP's Gorakhpur district. The boys were to board the Kushinagar express from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus at Kurla.
Verma told a private TV news channel that the immediate provocation for the attack was an argument between them and the Marathi-speaking youths. It's learnt that the four, who had boarded the 1.55 pm CST-bound local, were questioned about their destination as they were carrying suitcases and luggage with them. "When the Marathi-speaking youths learnt that we were going to UP, they taunted us and angrily told us not to return," Verma said.
"When we protested, we were humiliated and beaten up by the group which got off the train at Karjat station," Verma said. GRP commissioner Sharma said there were no external injuries on any of the four but the death could have occurred because Rai was hit in a sensitive area. "The port-mortem will reveal the reason for the death," he said.