Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Violence at Election Time: Unbecoming of a Parsi

UPDATE 02: Find below an email from Viraf Mehta, son of Trustee Dinshaw Mehta, giving a detailed account of what transpired. It also contains the scans of the NC filed with the Byculla Police Station in the aftermath of the incident. And the letter subsequently requesting the withdrawl of the same NC. This adds a lot of legitimacy to what Yasmin Sanjana and Arzan Ghadially wrote in about, earlier.
The one optimistic move we take from this is that the two Trustees involved have decided to “bury the hatchet” for the overall good of the community.
These scans were forwarded to us via email. They also contained medical prescriptions and ECG reports, that have not been put up here to respect the privacy of the person involved.

 

 

UPDATE 01: We just received a scanned copy of a letter co-signed by Dinshaw Mehta and Jimmy Mistry that the accusations made against each other are herewith withdrawn and that no one beat up someone else. Continue reading below to see the scanned copy image.

 

 

The run-off elections to the lone seat of the Bombay Parsi Punchayat Trusteeship are under way. A lot has been said and expressed by those for and against the candidates in the fray. Emails have been finding their way to Parsi inboxes the world over; containing opinions about why a particular trustee-candidate is better than the other. In a rising incidence of intolerance; many of these emails contain language that is unparliamentary by any and all standards. And more importantly; pass judgments about issues that have no factual basis.

If all this anger and animosity stopped at the email level or in comments on this website; the world would be better off. But that does not seem to be the case from two independent reports by two Parsi Khabar readers.

The events in question hinge around the round of elections on Sunday June 26, 2011 at the Rustom Baug polling center.

The two accounts are as below and have been edited for clarity and focus. The actual minute-by-minute and blow-by-blow accont (pun intended) may differ slightly as per each individuals perspective. However the general issue at hand is apalling; despicable; sad; depressing and one unbecoming of us Parsis. If this is the way we conduct ourselves; we will lose all the goodwill that our ancestors worked so hard to build and uphold.

I am a Parsi; and I am ashamed by what is happening.

 

Yasmin Sanjana writes in:

Yesterday at Rustom Baug BPP elections a shocking incident took place. Jimmy Mistry and his body guards physically assaulted the Chairman, Mr Dinshaw Mehta and his sons, Viraf and Hormuz.
There were two car loads of hoodlums who joined in the attack with wooden and iron rods.  It soon became a free-for-all. It is obvious that this was all pre-planned and by the time the police arrived, they had all disbursed. Another body guard went up to Mrs Mehta and told her "Ye Viraf to main uda Daloonga!" (I will kill Viraf)  On hearing this Mrs Panzy Mehta fainted and collapsed on the floor.  She was immediately hospitalized at Masina Hospital and is presently in a state of shock and depression.  Ofcourse, Viraf’s life is also in danger.

All this while,Kayan Khojeste Mistree is happily clicking photographs of the hapless Mrs Mehta and her son Hormuz who  rushed to assist his mother.

Jimmy Mistry ran into one of the Rustom Baug buildings, his body guards forming a cordon, Yazdi Desai ran into the polling booth …. These are the type of spineless people in WAPIZ/BPP whom we had earlier elected on being duped by their talks on religion.  We now know their double standards! After all that Dinshaw Mehta and Bardoli Jarthosti Anjuman did for  WAPIZ this is what we have been rewarded with! 

Moreover, Areez Khambatta calls up Bardoli Anjuman President, Homi  Pithawalla and swears at him in the most tapori and foulest language.  Does our religion allow us to do this?? We have  nothing personal against Anahita but we are definitely against WAPIZ and their policies.  They surely have a hidden agenda  which is obvious for all to see.  This is the most degrading and low level that we Parsis have stooped to and it has left the community in a state of shock.

 

Arzan J. Ghadially writes:

Jimmy Mistry and his Goons attack the Chairman of the BPP and his family at Rustom Baug.

The self acclaimed Business man Jimmy Mistry and his goons beat up Dinshaw Mehta’s Children at Rustam Buag. Dinshawji’s  wife under a shock was admitted to Masina Hospital and is now out of Danger.

It is sad and disgusting to note the kind of Goondas on Board of the BPP. Until last election and until last month Jimmy Mistry claimed Dinshaw was a honest person which can be evidenced in the media writing and his quotes now suddenly does a volte face as Dinshaw is not in favor of the Gher nu Gambhar Yezdi wife Anaihita’s standing for elections.

No matter who is right or wrong one should not retort to such hooliganism and beat up people. Jimmy has so many enemies that he has had to appoint Body Guards to protect him. Just because he wants Anaihita to win the elections and is busy promting her;  does he have to indulge in this third rate goondagiri and level false and baseless charges?

The time has now come for a peoples movement to throw the entire BPP Board out and hold fresh elections since the cost will remain the same if the candidate is one or the whole Board of 7 trustees. Look at the present Board of Trsutees, see the records of the BPP and you will realize how many days and how many hours do some of these Trustees whom we have voted work  for the community and attend board meetings.

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND WE REMOVE THE TRASH FROM THE BPP and bring in learned cultured and well mannerd matured people from the community instead of the present lot who are like viruses eating away in to our trust. and giving our community a bad name.

THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE. VOTE FOR AN EDUCATED PERSON WHO UNDERSTANDS HOW TRUSTS ARE RUN RATHER THAN VOTE FOR SOME SOCIAL WORKER.

—–

UPDATE: June 29, 2011 4:30 AM

letter

 

UPDATE: June 30 11:00 PM

Here is the email from Viraf Mehta, son of Trustee Dinshaw Mehta.

Dear  Friends,

It pains me a lot to see how the incidents of Sunday, June 26  at Rustom Baug are being twisted. The latest mail by Karl Sahukar has forced me  to come out and clarify this malafide attempt by the Wapiz team to politicize  and manipulate a sad incident within our community.

The incident took  place at around 4:30pm at Rustom Baug on Sunday, June 26. The facts relating to  that are as under:

It was  reported to us that Trustee Jimmy Mistry had been telling people in Dadar Parsi  Colony that my father, Chairman Dinshaw Mehta, is a "chor" (thief). The rumour  was that Mr. Zareer Bhatena had allegedly bribed Mr. Mehta for the sale of a  plot of land in Panthaky Baug, and therefore people should vote for Anahita  Desai.

Mr.  Zareer Bhatena and Mr. Dinshaw Mehta confronted Mr. Jimmy Mistry for a  clarification on these false accusations that were being made against them.  Jimmy categorically stated that this is election time and right to speech cannot  be denied to anyone.  A heated  exchange of words took place between Zareer, Jimmy and my father.  During  this interaction, my father got very upset and agitated that a man, almost as  young as his son was maligning his name. After giving over 25 years of his life  to the service of our community, his name was being slandered, and that too just  to garner votes for Anahita. .

Seeing my father in this agitated state,  Mr. Jimmy Mistry walked away and came to my brother, Hormuz, and myself and told  us to tell our father to calm down. We were naturally upset as well on hearing  these rumors. I don’t think there is any son in the world that will stand by and  see his father insulted.

Yes, tempers between Jimmy Mistry, Hormuz and me  did rise, but yet no one got physical. I put my palm on Jimmy’s shoulder to  explain to him that what was going around in Dadar Parsi Colony was wrong. But  before I could say anything further, one of his bodyguards rushed at  me and pushed me away and told me to keep my distance.

On seeing this,  our supporters got involved and moved that bodyguard away. By then, tempers and  emotions on both sides were at a high. The bodyguards were being excessively  aggressive with the Parsi crowd throwing their muscle power around and then  supporters and volunteers from both sides got charged up and a scuffle broke  out.

Please note, we did not raise our hands on Jimmy Mistry nor did he  hit us.

On being moved aside, the bodyguard pointed at me and said. "  Usko main chorunga nahin , usko main maar daloonga" (I will not leave him – I  will kill him). Unfortunately, my mother was standing in the same area and heard  the bodyguard point at me and say this.

On hearing this she had a nervous  breakdown and fainted on the lawns of Rustom Baug in front of a huge crowd. All  of our attention and focus was immediately shifted to my mother, and we were  trying to make her conscious again. She was slurring  and frothing at the mouth and couldn’t  open her eyes. We all panicked and immediately took her to Masina hospital for  medical care where the doctors were trying to bring her back to  consciousness. 

Thereafter  while at the hospital, a group of 15 to 20 non-Parsi goons entered Rustom Baug  who said that they were Jimmy’s bodyguards and began to threaten the Parsi  people at the venue.  Our supporters  were fed up of non-Parsis creating trouble in a Parsi Colony, during a Parsi  election meant only for Parsi voters and a scuffle ensued. Luckily at that time,  Mr. Vispi Kapadia from Rustom Baug came down from his premises who with his  influence called for a police van and got 6 of these non-Parsi bodyguards  arrested. They were taken and kept at the police station till 9pm.

We did  not want to make matters worse nor did we want our community affairs splashed  across the commercial newspapers.  So we did not file a complaint. 

When  we took my mother home from Masina Hospital, she was still in a state of  shock. Our family doctor was called and he put my mother on heavy sedatives. She  was still not over what the bodyguard said and kept repeating it over and over  and insisted I file a police complaint to protect myself. So I went to Byculla  police station and filed a complaint against Jimmy’s bodyguard who threatened my  life.

That  night we got a call from Mr. Vispi Kapadia saying that what had happened was  very tragic and not good for the community.

So my father, Dinshaw Mehta,  brother Hormuz and I met with Mr. Vispi Kapadia and Mr. Farokh Wadia at 1am that  night. They requested us to come to an amicable solution. We agreed and they  thereafter called Mr. Jimmy Mistry, who came with Parvez Damania and a few of  his supporters, at the ITC Hotel.

We all agreed that this was a very  unfortunate and tragic incident which went out of hand and does not show our  community in good light, especially when the Trustees of the Apex body  themselves are squabbling. We also did not want our community issues to be  blasted across cosmopolitan newspapers.

So  while Jimmy and my father agreed to give a signed joint clarification asking for  peace in the community, I too agreed to give a letter to the Byculla Police  Station stating that we had met with Jimmy, and had amicably come to a solution,  so the matter can now be considered close and the complaint withdrawn. 

It  saddens me how these facts are now being distorted by Wapiz members. When Jimmy  and Dinshaw have agreed to bring peace and unity into the community, WAPIZ is  trying to create another divide. They are politicizing this event to try and  garner votes for their candidate. Tanaz Parekh, active Wapiz member and campaign  manager for Anahita Desai, calls up my aunt, Yasmin Sanjana and tells her that  Pansy Mehta, my mother, was just doing natak (she was acting). That she chose  the right time to faint and had her photographers at the right place at the  right time.

I find  this shameful. God forbid this was to happen to her mother or her children, I  wonder how she would feel. To insinuate we would use our mother for something  like this is very unbecoming of a Parsi.

Then  Karl Sahukar, who obviously is mis-informed, sends out an email telling people  that my mother was never taken to Masina Hospital. That she was taken home. May I  please request Karl to get his facts straight. My mother was immediately taken  in for an ECG. After the doctors calmed her down and stabilized her pressure, we  were allowed to take her home. Karl further says this was stunt just to stop the  elections. If that was the intention then the incident would have taken place  early morning and not at the end of the day.

Karl goes on to tell people that we are besmirching the fair name  of Kaiyan Mistree, son of Khojeste Mistree, as well as Wapiz. Is Karl aware that  my own brother Hormuz saw Kaiyan,  take pictures and videos of my mother in that distressed state, instead  of rushing to her aid. My brother was mortified and couldn’t believe how low one  would stoop during elections. 

It is  understandable that Karl will try and twist the facts, he is an ardent Wapiz  supporter and is one of four of Anahita’s volunteer permitted to enter the  election enclosure. But to blatantly lie about my family, my mother’s health, my  safety and the events of Sunday is just being dishonest.

The  Joint letter which was signed was to bring peace and harmony back to the  community and put the incident at Rustom Baug behind us. It was signed by two  adults who realized that such events should not happen again as it puts the  community in bad light. It was not signed for manipulation by Wapiz members. 

The  statements in the joint letter were made in the best interest of the community.  I was present during the entire discussion and hence it pains me to see the  intent of the letter being misconstrued by others.

In the  joint letter, the statement “neither side has hit anybody or assaulted anybody”  is stated to imply that neither Jimmy, nor my father nor me, raised our hands on  each other. There were lots of rumours floating around that we hit Jimmy or that  Jimmy pushed my father or punched me. These are all fictitious. Neither of us  raised our hands on each other.

The  statement "the accusations made against each other are herewith withdrawn" is to  imply that the rumours going about in Dadar about the Chairman Mr. Dinshaw Mehta  are false and malafide and hence withdrawn. It is also to note that the messages  being sent by very emotional and enthusiastic supporters might have mentioned  rifles, revolvers, hockey sticks etc. This is incorrect as these weapons were  never present. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that the rest of events  as mentioned earlier did take place and are true in their entirety.

I do  not write this email to get any sympathy nor am I using this as an election tool  by any standards. I was upset to see how the Wapiz members were deviously  manipulating the Sunday events to create more friction within the community. I  was also very upset to see how my mother’s health was being made a mockery off  and so I decided to lay down the facts . There was a lot of speculation of what  happened and I felt that I had to write to my community and clear their doubts.  Trust me, it takes a toll on one’s family, and is not something you wish for on  others.

I am  not very proud of what happened on Sunday, which is why I sought to put an end  to this. I do hope that this email of mine is the last on this matter. I wish we  do not hear or speak any more of what went down last Sunday. It was an  unfortunate act, with egos and tempers flying high, but better sense has  prevailed upon all of us and the matter is resolved. Let us not try to rake it  up again for personal gain or election gimmicks.

The  emails of Viraf Kapadia, forwarded by Dinshaw Tamboly,  Arzan J Ghadially,  the postings by Mickie Sorabjee and the email sent by my aunt Yasmin  Kersi Sanjana were infact quite factual. No matter how much Karl wants to prove  them wrong, they carried the truth. Yes, some mails and sms’ did have a little  fabrication to it, but that is just emotions taking over an individual. While I  hope I have clarified and cleared a lot of doubts that have been created, I do  want to thank these and other individuals who have stood by me and my family  through this time and especially for those of you who  have prayed for my mother’s speedy  recovery.

I  would not be surprised if the Wapiz’s Page in the Free Press Journal this Friday  carries a write up with photographs about what happened in Rustom Baug. If they  feel this will help the cause of Anahita to become a Trustee so be it. 

But  for the sake of communal harmony, I do hope better sense prevails upon them. 

Thank  you for reading patiently.

Sincerely,

Viraf  Mehta

NC in Byculla Station-1

withdrawal of NC-1

Receipt from Masina Hospital-1