Dombivali residents pay tribute to youth killed for confronting eve-teasers

Candlelight march

Family and friends of Santosh Vicchivora, who was allegedly murdered by a group of boys when he confronted them about lewd comments directed at his female friend, held a condolence meeting and a candlelight march in his memory in Dombivali on Sunday evening. Thousands of residents gathered in a show of support for the 20-year-old, who spoke out against the eve-teasing menace.

The meeting was held in a hall at the Navneet Nagar society, with nearly 1,500 people in attendance. After a sombre expression of sympathy, the mourners marched on the streets. Candles were lit and passed around silently and the procession began from Navneet Nagar around 6.30 pm.

As the procession passed on to Desalepada, residents of buildings along the way joined in. They, too, were given lit candles and the crowd swelled to nearly 2,500 by the time it reached the Lodha Circle, from where it turned back to Navneet Nagar.

The Vicchivoras silently walked ahead, mutely accepting expressions of condolence and sympathy from the people. "It was heartening to see the turnout. It made us feel as if we were not alone," said Santosh's cousin Darshan Vicchivora.

The Vicchivoras thanked the people for coming, and waited at the gates of the complex with joined hands as the mourners slowly dispersed.

Also present was Kantilal Gada, who was injured while trying to save Santosh. He is the prime eyewitness in the case.

Residents of Navneet Nagar have submitted a written request to the police, demanding either a chowky or regular patrolling in the area. Till that happens, residents have taken to patrolling the area themselves.

"We are not interested in confrontation with the authorities. I believe that we are well within our rights in demanding a chowky or considerable police presence in the area," Gada said.

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