Editor: Read Chapter XXXIV here.
‘I won’t agree to any of this,’ Etayya told Rajesh who had a grim look on his face.
‘Mr. Etayya, we are desperate. We need your help. All that we want you to do is to give us your consent for a poster like this.’ Rajesh turned to Inspector Makarand and said, ‘Inspector, please show him the poster.’
Makarand took out a large, thick, square piece of paper from a bag. When unfolded, it revealed a picture of Etayya and a caption saying in Hindi and Marathi- “SURRENDER! JOIN THE MAINSTREAM. VIOLENCE DOES NOT SOLVE ANY PROBLEM.”
‘We want to plaster this all over Mumbai. You will be interviewed on Television and you will explain how you have come to realise that violence does not get any results. You can maybe say how…’
‘Like hell I will do that!’ Etayya growled.
‘You better do what Saab asks you to do. Else, you are likely to be moved out of the special cell and put in with other prisoners.’
Etayya shook his head firmly and Rajesh kept wondering what he could do to make him change his mind. His phone rang. It was Felix.
‘We may have got a lead. Where are you now?’
‘With Etayya. Let me step outside.’
Rajesh stepped outside Etayya’s special cell inside the Arthur Road Jail leaving Makarand with Etayya.
‘Listen, one of the organisations we have checked out, a group called Marxist Thoughts has been on an All India Tour for the past four months.’
‘Where are they from?’
‘From Mumbai. They meet every Friday in a Goregaon chawl.’
‘The entire group vanished?’
‘Yes, the entire group is missing. Eleven men, including the leader, one Avinash, have gone on the tour. Also, for the last ten days, the ones on tour have stopped calling their folks from wherever they are. Instead, they are only receiving text messages from them. If the family members try to call back, the calls go unanswered.’
‘Curiouser and curiouser! I’ll come over to the HQ right away.’
‘Do that. Or better still, why don’t you head towards Goregaon and talk to the people who live in that chawl?’
‘Yes, that’s a good idea. Did all the eleven men who went on the All India Tour come from the same chawl?’
‘To be honest, I don’t know. The IB has found that the leader of Marxist Thought, a retired postman by the name Avinash Korde lives there and maybe a few others too. Just go there and talk to our men there. You’ll find the place swarming with our men and the mufti-wallahs.’
Featured Image (Cover): Nisha Joseph
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