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'Please take care of my family after me'

Last updated on: December 24, 2004 03:07 IST

"Please take care of my handicapped daughter Nikita. Please take care of my family after me," was 55-year-old Ganpat Jadhav's plea to his son-in-law when he realised that he was losing his life.

He was among the 13 people who died after consuming adulterated liquor at Saatrasta in south Mumbai. Twelve others are fighting for their lives.

Police have arrested the illegal country-made liquor shop owner Raju Goregaonkar and suspended Senior Inspector Keshavrao Shinde of N M Joshi Marg police station, under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred.

The incident comes less than two days before the beginning of the Christmas-New Year week, a period when there is a major hike in liquor sale and consumption.

Ganpat Jadhav worked in Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking and lived in Adarsh Nagar, Saatrasta. He used to drive a taxi at night to support his family, which comprised his wife, daughters Sheetal (21), Seema (17) and Nikita (10). The youngest is disabled since birth.

Sheetal is married to Sachin Kamle, who is unemployed and came to Mumbai two months back.

On Tuesday night, Jadhav had consumed liquor. Next day, he fell ill and rested at home the entire day. Early Thursday morning, when the pain became unbearable, he told Sachin to immediately call his younger brother Anant Jadhav from Panvel, about 40km from Mumbai.

When he came to know that his brother was not contactable, he began confiding his fears with Sachin.

"Early on Thursday morning, he called me and complained about pain and blindness. He told me: please take care of my handicapped daughter Nikita. Please take care of my family after me. I though the illness had made him nervous. He rarely falls ill," said Sachin.

Jadhav told Sachin that his body was paining and he was unable to see anything. He was unable to walk.

Sachin put him in a taxi and took him to B Y L Nair Hospital. He was admitted but declared dead in the afternoon.

"Nikita is totally handicapped, even unable to sit. She sleeps on the bed since birth. She is not able to talk, but understands what we talk. He (Ganpat Jadhav) loved her very much and was very caring towards her. Now she faces a bleak future. Without him (Jadhav), it will be very difficult for the family to survive," said Sachin.

On hearing about Ganpat's death, Anant Jadhav rushed to Mumbai from Panvel. "We got to know about the incident in the afternoon. Now, there is nobody to feed his family," he said.

Another victim is Nasir Mohammed, who lived with his wife and three children. He had a small garage on the footpath, at Saatrasta.

His was a love marriage. His wife does odd jobs to support the family. Nasir is a native of Bihar and does not have any close relative in Mumbai.

"We informed his brother in Bihar but they are not coming. It's not worth it because it will take them three days just to reach Mumbai. They would rather not spend the money," said Shahabuddin, a distant relative of Nasir.

A friend and he were going to take care of Nasir's last rites.
Vijay Singh in Mumbai