Ketan Majumdar aka Ketan Batli’s case was closed now, Yusuf and Co. had no idea who was Ketan or Manga as they weren’t even allowed to leave their ward. They barely had any knowledge about the other inmates housed in the jail. The inmates were waiting for their barracks to be opened again, but the Sabarmati Police and Ahmedababd Crime Branch officials had rushed to the spot and jail superintendant Vasava had ordered that the barracks won’t be opened until the police are done with their work. It was the first time something like this had happened here at Sabarmati jail. An inmate was murdered. Two inmates plan to murder each other and the jail police couldn’t sniff the conspiracy brewing, more than that it was shocking on how did a sharp weapon like a knife reach an inmate’s hands, wherein even a leaf won’t move without the guards’ permission. The police were investigating the case on these points. Manga was taken into custody and moved into a single cell. According to the statements of the inmates who were witness to this incident, it was not Manga but two of his henchmen Jigo and Montu who killed Ketan. These two were the trusted aides of Manga and for them his order was equivalent to that of God’s. They too commanded equivalent amount of fear amongst the prisoners. Both belonged to poor families. Whether it’s inside the jail or outside, it was Manga who took care of their expenses. Whether it’s dealing with the police or paying lawyers’ fees in court, it was Manga who took care of it for them. Ketan and Manga were kept in different barracks, but 6 months ago, they encountered each other at the jail hospital, where Manga tried to threaten Ketan, which led to Ketan attacking Manga and had the guards not intervened at the right point, Ketan would’ve finished off Manga that day itself.
Though he survived the attack from Ketan that day, Manga had now developed a fear in his mind. He realised that all his terrorising activities inside the jail were simply built on the grounds of fear, and Ketan showed none of it. If the word got spread inside and outside the jail that Ketan had attacked him and he couldn’t retaliate, it would badly affect his business. Manga had decided from that day itself to finish off Ketan, but waited for the right time and arrangements to be made. Punitive actions were taken against Ketan and Manga for the scuffle and were prohibited from leaving their respective wards. Manga had now calmed down, for months he hadn’t demanded any ransom from anyone nor did he threaten anyone of anything. Nobody noticed this change happen. Even the police inside the jail failed to notice it, which they should have. A day before the murder, Manga had received two sharp knifes just before the evening closure time. He had hidden them inside the cover of his pillow. No one from the jail guards, warden or the inmates got a whiff of it. Ketan was very happy a day before he was killed as his wife Vaidehi had come to meet him. The inmates were allowed to meet their relatives and family for 20 minutes and they’d try to make the most out of it. Vaidehi was in college when she fell in love with Ketan. Ketan was still into his wayward ways and used to sit outside Vaidehi’s college on his motorcycle. Vaidehi’s friends would talk about him on how he is an anti-social element, but Vaidehi had developed a liking for him. When Ketan and Vaidehi would meet, he’d talk about his bravado to her, which would leave her surprised. Ketan never feared anyone, but he started worrying about Vaidehi after he fell in love with her.
Ketan had an illegally acquired gun with him, which he’d keep in Vaidehi’s purse everytime they went out. She too would keep it without any fear. He’d be impressed by her fearlessness. She had told him, “Why should I be feared of anything when you are there with me”. Vaidehi knew that her parents would never agree to her marrying Ketan, so she’d tell him that once her college is over, she will get a job and soon they’ll get married. Ketan too would think that if Vaidehi can sacrifice so much in love for him, he too should probably get into a business and quit all his anti-social activities. Vaidehi had never asked Ketan to change his ways. She had told him that she accepts him the way he is, but Ketan had now decided to change himself. Ketan and his father had stopped conversing long time back, but he’d still talk to his mother. He told her about Vaidehi, upon which she rebuked him saying why he is destroying the life of a girl when he is well aware that he has already taken the wrong path. But Ketan promised his mother that he will be leaving all his illegal activities. His mother was very happy hearing this. But probably god had other plans for him. Ketan and his friends had gone out drinking to celebrate his new venture into life. He got into a scuffle with the paan-shop owner and in a fit of rage, he had picked up a large pair of scissors lying there in the shop and stabbed the paan-shop owner. Ketan realised the horrible mistake he had committed after he came out of his inebriated state, but it was too late by then. He saw Vaidehi was waiting outside the police station, tears in her eyes. Her dreams of getting a job upon finishing college and getting married to him, it was all over. It has been 10 years since Ketan was in jail, but Vaidehi would come to meet him every fortnight. The last time Vaidehi came to meet him, she had brought some good news for him, but the next day Ketan had left her, forever.
This is the 17th part of the serialized novel 'Deewal' based on the Sabarmati jailbreak attempt, written by Prashant Dayal, the editor of MeraNews.com