Fifty-year-old Suryakant Surve is worried that he may never be able to play the tabla again. The hospital ward boy, who moonlights as a percussionist and has performed alongside Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and other legends, was on Friday beaten up by a police constable who suspected him of robbery.
While the robbery charge hasn't been proved, Surve has sustained injuries on his back and right thumb. Moreover, his hearing is now impaired due to the injuries he received on his ears.
The incident took place on Friday, when Dr Manoj Bachau of the KEM Hospital's plastic surgery department approached the Bhoiwada police and lodged a complaint that his wallet containing Rs 8,000 and a credit card had gone missing from his room in the hospital campus.
Following this, constable Sachin Jagtap went to the hospital and brought Surve, who works as a ward boy there, to the station as Dr Bachau had told him that Surve was the last person he had seen entering his room.
Surve was questioned by the police for one-and-a-half hours and then allowed to leave. When hospital union members met him later, Surve told them that constable Ghadge had hit him with a belt and threatened him with dire consequences.
Outraged, his colleagues gathered outside the ofice of the acting dean Dr Shubhangi Parkar and demanded an explanation from her. They also demanded punitive action against the doctor and the constable.
A hurt Surve said that no such thing has happened to him in his 24-year association with KEM hospital. "This is blot on my career; I want justice. I need the police to clear me of the charge. I've played alongside big names in the music field, and I don't know if I'll be able to do so again. I hope I recover soon," said Surve.
Surve has performed with famous classical singer Shridhar Phadke, Padamaja Joglekar-Phenani, Ustad Zakhir Hussain and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, among others.
In fact, when Shridhar Phadke and Padamaja Joglekar-Phenani found out Surve had been hospitalised, they visited him in hospital to inquire about his health.
"We don't want anything, only justice. My husband is innocent. He would never do such a thing," said Varsha, Surve's wife.
Meanwhile, Dr Parkar said Surve is now stable. "We are taking care of and hope he will soon be able to resume work. He is a very talented artiste," she said.