A squabble over a standing spot near the door in Asangaon fast train took a violent turn as one of the individuals involved in the quarrel named Asif Yusuf Shaikh suddenly chewed off a part of the index finger of the other co-passenger. The incident took place on Thursday evening in Mumbai on a peak-time Asangaon fast local and the accused was arrested at Thane station by GRP after fellow commuters cautioned the police.
The victim, Mahesh Pandurang Dhumbre, who works for an insurance firm and lives in Ghansoli, went through a corrective surgery on Friday evening. On Thursday, after finishing off his work, he went on board the first-class compartment of the 5:40 PM local train at Dadar. The accused, Asif Yusuf Shaikh, hopped on the train from Kurla station and jostled Dhumbre and other passengers standing near the door. “He was trying to push others in order to make space for himself but the local was jam-packed and there was scarcely any space. In his struggle to carve a space for himself, he precluded others from boarding the train. So I pulled him in. However, this infuriated him and he pushed me away, Dhumbre said to Mumbai Mirror.
As per other co-passengers in the train, the jostling quickly devolved into a heated argument following which Shaikh hurled expletives at Dhumbre and held his collar so violently that his buttons came off. Dhumbre, on the other hand, fought back and pulled Shaikh by his neck which is when Shaikh bit his finger and held it tight between his teeth.
Speaking to Swati Goel Sharma of Swarajya Magazine, Dhumbre said, “It took me some moments to realise what had happened. I saw a part of my nail and flesh between his teeth before he coolly spat it out of the train. He looked like a shaitaan.”
While recounting the incident Dhumbre said that the pain was so excruciating that he bawled and closed his eyes tightly. After some time when he opened his eyes, he saw blood splattered on Shaikh’s shirt and mouth. He felt that he has injured Shaikh. However, it was Dhumbre who was profusely bleeding while a part of his index finger dangled from Shaikh’s mouth. In the scuffle, Dhumbre lost one cm distal phalanx of the index finger of his right hand.
Dhumbre was taken aback as Shaikh continued abusing him after spitting out the part of the finger. In fact, Asif Yusuf Sheikh told Dhumbre that when they both alight at Thane, he would tear Dhumbre’s stomach apart.
“I showed him my finger, so he could see what he had done. Instead of expressing shock, he attempted to hit me,” says Dhumbre to Swati Goel Sharma. He said he could hear murmurs in the train that only an animal could do such a thing.
The FIR filed with GRP Kurla mentions that Shaikh threatened to throw Dhumbre out of the running train but was held back by other co-passengers. One of the passengers called the railway helpline. When the train pulled in at Thane station, Shaikh was arrested by two GRP personnel and has been booked under sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 504 (intentionally insulting and provoking to break the public peace) of the Indian Penal Code. In the FIR, it is mentioned that Asif lives in a chawl.
“Asif was dressed well, in jeans, a neat black shirt and sports shoes. He looked like he belongs to a well-to-do family. I was surprised that he lives in a chawl,” says Dhumbre.
The police, who is not allowed to speak to the media told Swarajya that though the man is in custody now, he shows no signs of remorse and says that he bit Dhumbre’s finger off in self-defence.
The cop said Asif has no previous criminal record, is a college dropout (he enrolled in a BSc course but did not complete it, as per the cop) and is currently employed in a private firm on a temporary basis, according to the Swarajya report.
According to Dhumbre’s elder brother Yogesh, Doctors are unsure if they will be able to restore the finger completely. However, they have stated that they will try to reinstate the portion of the finger for the nail to grow back.