BJP Leader Battles For Life
By Nilofar Suhrawardy,
Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
MUMBAIâ€”Sadly, though at the face of it, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan (57) being shot at by his own younger brother Pravin Mahajan (45) requires almost no investigation, the incident demands deliberation on quite a few issues. This Saturday April 22nd, Pravin shot point blank at Pramodâ€™s residence and later surrendered himself and the weapon to the police. Though repentant of his action, Pravin told the police that he had been angry at Pramod as he was â€œill treatingâ€ and â€œignoringâ€ him. â€œI have been seeking appointment of Pramod for the last 15 days but in vainâ€”I therefore, decided to visit him early in the morning to accost him for his behavior,â€ Pravin said in a statement recorded by Worli Police Station, where he surrendered.
â€œI shot at my brother intentionally. Yes, I wanted to kill him, because he was of no use to me… I went to my brotherâ€™s place early in the morning. I wanted him to support me in getting some contracts. He is politically well connected, but he did not help me. I had lost a few big contracts due to Pramodâ€™s non-cooperation,â€ Pravin stated. During interrogation, Pravin revealed that he had decided to kill Pramod three weeks ago, senior police officials said. Pravin had been tracking Pramodâ€™s whereabouts for fifteen days.
The two brothers were apparently alone in a room for a while when the shots were fired. Before Pramodâ€™s wife could react, Pravin walked down the stairs from the 15th floor flat and drove to the police station.
Seriously injured, Pramod was rushed to Hinduja hospital by his brother-in-law and BJP Legislative Party leader Gopinath Munde, who is also his neighbor. With the bullets having perforated Pramodâ€™s liver, pancreas and intestines, having caused a lot of blood loss, he was admitted into an intensive care unit in critical condition. Pramodâ€™s case was viewed as complicated on account of his being diabetic. Leaving nothing to chance, while liver and pancreas expert Dr Mohammed Rela was invited from London, ortho trauma specialist Dr Steven Dean was rushed from Australia. Besides, among others, the hospital authorities consulted army doctors also. By Monday evening, Mahajan had undergone two surgeries as his vital parameters had become unstable. Due to poor functioning of his kidneys, Pramod was put on dialysis.
As the media kept the nation abreast about Pramodâ€™s condition, the hospital was thronged by celebrities pouring in to display their wishes and sympathy for him and his family members. While at one level this was reflective of the Indian tendency, cutting across political, social and religious barriers to display their support for Pramod and his family members, on another, critics viewed it as a strain on the hospital staff and on Pramodâ€™s security officers. Pramodâ€™s family members include his wife Rekha and children, Poonam and Rahul.
Among the dignitaries who visited the hospital were former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and BJP leaders- including L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh and Arun Jaitley. Bollywood personalities Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Dharmendra and Poonam Dhillon were also there.
Expressing anguish and shock at the incident, President A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wished Pramod a quick recovery and offered moral support to his family members. Congress President Sonia Gandhi wished the same in a letter addressed to Pramodâ€™s wife Rekha Mahajan.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to apparently save Pravin, his lawyer and his wife Sarangi said that of late he had seemed to be mentally â€œdisturbed.â€ According to his lawyer, Nandkumar Rajukar, Pravin had been suffering from â€œsome mental disorderâ€ in recent months. However, as per the medical report of J.J. Hospital, Pravin is mentally stable.
Whatever reasons may have provoked Pravin to shoot at his own brother, several factors cannot be ignored. Whether a person is mentally sound or not, greater attention needs to be paid at his possession of a weapon. Sibling rivalry is not uncommon but perhaps if Pravin did not possess the gun, he might not have even planned the incident. After securing the gun license in 1996, Pravin apparently bought the Belgian-made .32-bore Browning pistol at a throwaway price through family contacts. Pravin was able to get the gun license also with the help of his brother-in-law Munde, who was Maharashtra Home Minister in 1996.
Speculations are also being raised at the apparently weak security infrastructure maintained at Pramodâ€™s Worli residence, Poornima Apartments. While it is understood, that Pravin being a brother would not have been refused entry, it is astonishing that he reached Pramodâ€™s flat without passing through any security check. That armed men can easily enter even posh residential areas does ring an alarm bell. The only saving grace is that rather than splitting the nation along religious, regional or political lines, the incident has prompted one and all to hope and pray for Pramodâ€™s recovery. This Monday evening, thanking the doctors for doing an â€œexcellentâ€ job, his son Rahul told reporters: â€œAt this testing time, only prayers come to oneâ€™s help.â€