Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Abhiyan
A young girl had apparently committed suicide by jumping in the well. But there was a suspicion that she was murdered because she was an eye-witness to some violent acts committed by upper caste people during the Bhima Koregaon disturbances. A Fact Finding team comprising activists of many Dalit groups investigated the matter.
22nd April 2018. Pooja’s body was brought out of the well water at 12 noon. Red blood poured out of her mouth instead of water. Her body wasn’t swolen and water didn’t come out from her stomach. Her face was full of cut marks. Cut marks were also on hands. Prima facia it was evident that it was a murder. Pooja’s uncle therefore registered a complaint of murder. But police showed their caste bias and registered offence of suicide. Why did they do so? Just to save Bhide-Ekbote. Because she was an important witness of Bhima-Koregaon riots.
Various stories are woven around the murder of the 19 years old Matang girl such as- she committed suicide- she was not a witness of Bhima-Koregaon incident. So on and so forth.
Need of fact finding and the observation of committee.
When everyone right from the Delhi-Mumbai government to the police force to the corporate media houses are all busy proving Bhide -Ekbote innocent, the only witness of this incident is murdered and all the above mentioned are trying to prove it to be a suicide, needs to be investigated and thus a fact was to be found out and brought to light. Thus the 260 organizations that participated in the Bhima-Koregao shaurya prerna abhiyan sent their members and a fact finding committee was constituted. Members of the various organizations were as follows:-
- M. N. Kamble _RPI bharip bahujan mahasangh. Pune
- Ganesh Jadhav _ RPI bharip bahujan mahasangh Pune
- Sudhir Dhawale_ Republican Panthers Mumbai
- Harsha Potdar _Samata Vidyarthi Aghadi Mumbai.
- Adv Surendra Gadling_ General Secretary , Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Nagpur.
- Adv. Kundan Nitnaware_ Democratic Advocates Association for Constitutional Action (DAACA) Nagpur
- Adv Nitesh Gwalwansh_ Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) Nagpur
- Adv B B Sawant _ Lal Nishan Paksh Pune
- Adv Shilpa Savant_Adv and writer Thane
- Sanghraj Dhammakirti_ samata sainik dal, Aurangabad
- Com Ganpat Bhise, Lalsena Parbhani
- Mohan Rathod , Satyashodhak obc parishad Thane
- Ravi Gaikwad, people’s voice Aurangabad
- Dipak Kedar
- Vinod Bhole Panther sena, Aurangabad
- Vinayak Salunkhe, Thane
- Aakash Sabale Ripublikan Bharat Pune
- Ibrahim khan Swaraj Abhiyan Pune
- Shrikrishna N Gharde BRP mahasangh Pune
- Arun Jadhav Jamkhed Ahmednagar
To get a better understanding about Pooja Sakat murder issue we reached village Wada early morning on 25th of April. Her house was surrounded by massive police force, investigating officers. Pooja’s mother and sister’s eyes were swollen due to continuous crying. Pooja’s father and uncle started narrating the story:-
19 year old Pooja had appeared for the 11th standard exam from Sambhaji Chatrapati High school. At noon on 21st April she left the house. In the evening everyone started searching for her as she did not return. Next morning they searched the well which was 200 meters away from their house. Pooja’s chappals were seen there. All relatives gathered near the well. Police and neighbours also came. At noon her body was taken out of the well. It was not at all swollen. Blood oozed out from her mouth and nostrils. Face had cut marks. It seemed as if it was a murder. Therefore the relatives demanded that the post-mortem should be carried out at Sassoon Hospital Pune. But police took the body to the nearby Shukrapur hospital. PI Galande insisted that the post-mortem should be carried out there only. He said, ‘if you want to go to Sassoon Pune you go by a private carrier. A private ambulance was hired by paying Rs 2000 and her body was taken to Pune. News spread like fire. Activists gathered at Sassoon Hospital Pune. They protested. And then a case of murder was filed by the police. Pooja’s father, brother and mother were not in a position to talk, therefore Pooja’s uncle Dilip Sakat registered the complaint. He wrote:-
“My niece had seen the house burnt, she was a witness to this incident and had given her statement in front of the police officer Mr. Daund on 11th of April. She had made him add the names of the remaining culprits, and so she was made a target by them. On 21st April Pooja went missing from the house at about 2.30 pm. We searched for her and in the evening filed her missing complaint in the police station. Later we found her dead body in a well owned by Rohidas Undre of village Wada. Therefore Adv. Sudhir Dhamdhere, Vilas Shridhar Wedpathak, Ganesh Vilas Wedpathak, Navnath Dhnyanoba Darekar, Somnath Fakkad Darekar, Vilas Kaluram Darekar, Subhash Ganpat Ghawte, Goraksh Patilbua Thorat, Ganesh Goraksh Thorat are responsible for her murder…”.
The reason behind the murder is clearly stated in the FIR. Pooja’s father and brother also stated in front of the committee that Pooja was abducted and murdered. Why then was it mentioned on the first post on Facebook that she has committed suicide?? Even before the post-mortem report was out who had planted the news in hurry that Pooja had committed suicide and why ? When there was no suicide note, nor any evidence, nor witness, why did police started the investigation to prove it was a suicide?
The theory of suicide is beneficial to police, government and the middlemen. They will be benefitted by proving that there is no connection in the Bhima-Koregao riot and Pooja’s murder. They will then be able to quiet the opposition.
Was Pooja Sakat murdered?:-
1) There were scars/wounds on Pooja’s body, on forehead and face. The blood that was coming out was red and not black. Specialists will tell that the blood in the wound becomes black when the wounds are older. Her wounds had red blood. Sakat family says that spot panchnama was not done.
2) So if Pooja’s body wasn’t swollen and her wounds were red, where was Pooja all night? Committee has observed that police has not investigated in that direction. Who abducted Pooja? Committee has requested the police to take a complaint of murder and investigate in that direction.
3) One woman named Sonali Midgule, a co-resident of the building in which Suresh Sakat lives was missing on 21st, 22nd and 23rd of April. The day she came to live in this village Wada she use to quarrel with the people around and torture them mentally. Once she had a fight with Sakats also. Her brother in law Dhnyaneshwar Midgule is a hard core RSS worker. He preaches the ideology of hindutva in that area. This is a new and grave allegation Jaideep and Suresh Sakat has levelled against him. It didn’t strike the Sakat family that they should also mention these Midgule’s in the FIR.
Background of the murder:-
Suresh Sakat was staying in the land which comes under PWD since last 15 years and was running a tea shop. They have all documents to prove that they are the residents of their current position. In the morning a mob of 100 to 150 people came shouting, “aale re ale hindu aale(here come hindus)”, “jalun taka, thewu naka (burn it, don’t spare)”, towards their house and burnt the house by pouring petrol over it. They also burnt Lahuji Sena office and hotel. “At that moment Pooja and my son Jaydeep were hiding nearby. Since then the perpetrators were threatening to kill them,” says Suresh Sakat.
2) Ward no. 639 has many plots allotted under Mahar watans. In the neighborhood of ward number 639 are the plots of Wedpathak, Devkar and Adv Sudhir Dhamdhere. Adv Dhamdhere wants to purchase Devkar’s plot. Dhamdhere is also a builder and has a strong hold on everything in this area. He was saying that because a part of the house of Suresh Sakat is towards the plot of Devkar, it can’t get a good market value. After Suresh Sakat’s new landlord told him to vacate his rented house, he started to build his own house on the same plot where his earlier house was. But the above three people tried to stop him and brought a stay on that.
3) On 18/11/17 Sakat had filed a complaint at special police commissioner Kolhapur, against the Sudhir Dhamdhere and Vilas Shridhar Wedpathak saying that they had pressurized him to leave his house and was threatened to be killed. But cognizance was not taken.
4) On 2/2/18 Sakat had filed a police complaint at Shukrapur police station against Shridhar Vedpathak and Samadhan Satpute mentioning that they threatened to kill Sakat. Nothing was done.
5) On 11/2/18 Sakat filed complaint against Subhash Ganpat Ghawte, saying he said to Sakat that, ‘ he will burn Sakat to death in the same way as his house was burnt’. But again nothing was done about it.
6) Pooja had seen the house burnt and had given her witness statement. On 11/4/18 she had completed her unfinished statement in front of Mr Daund and added the names of Dhamdhere, Wedpathak, Darekar, Ghawte and all in the statement. Therefore they were angry with Sakats and were in search of some opportunity to attack them. Therefore they were responsible for Pooja’s murder is a allegation clearly mentioned in his police complaint.
Thus this quarrel had a history. Sakats were getting death threats and they were giving police complaints also. 4 police complaints in 4 months! But police took no cognizance. Ganesh More DYSP, and Ramesh Galande PI were protecting the perpetrators, is the charge Sakat levelled against police.
7) On 2nd January Jaydeep gave a complaint to DYSP Ganesh More about his burnt house and also told him that his sister Pooja is hiding near about, so he requested More to look for her and also take her statement. But police didn’t respond. They even didn’t write the three names complainant had given them. On 7th January when Jaideep went to the police station to include those three names in the FIR, police instead put him behind bars for a month. After he was released on bail he again went to the police station to request that the three names be added, he saw Ganesh More was talking in his cabin with those hindutwawadi perpetrators. If the three names are added to the FIR, Jaideep will be made to face severe consequences, he will be charged with severe allegations, was a threat given by Galande and More to Jaideep. This is what Suresh and Jaideep Sakat mentioned.
8) Jaideep told that the well in which Pooja’s dead body was found belonged to one Undre who is a BJP haweli taluka president and before this incidence three more dead bodies were found in this well.
1)Suez Haq PI Pune rural told on phone that Pooja was killed or she committed suicide will be clear only from the police investigation and postmortem report. The assist. police commissioner (अधीक्षक?) Dr. Sandip Pakhale told the team at Shukrapur police station that Offence is been registered under 306/34 and activity act 3(2)(5). In IPC 306 is registered for forcing someone towards suicide. He said the complaint is given by her relatives and it is submitted to us in Pune as it was given by them. We investigated. We were told that such and such people were responsible for her suicide so we arrested them and investigated. There were many issues in between them. Remaining names were also given to us and we will question them also. By doing this who is Sandip Pakhale exactly protecting?
2) Looking at Pooja’s dead body police didn’t take suo moto notice of it. They didn’t check the prima facia evidences and all the perpetrators. And yet they are trying to show that it was a suicide. Postmortem report has not yet come, therefore ‘ suicide by drowning’ cannot be proved. And still why is police eager to declare it a suicide?
Sandip Pakhale told the fact finding team that if the MR report and evidences prove that it’s a murder then 302 can be applied.
Pakhale also said that, “her father told and has written in FIR that due to the incidence of 1/1/18 he had sent all family to karjat and therefore he was alone at home”.
Who is the police trying to fool? Actually first FIR was not given by Pooja’s father but by brother Jaideep and he had mentioned that Pooja is also a witness to the incidence. Even then police didn’t record her statement.
3) The main point is Bhima-Koregao riot has killed Pooja. One of the master mind of the riot Milind Ekbote is out on bail. The other one Bhide is not even arrested or questioned by police. Even after Pooja Sakat’s murder if police is not arresting Bhide-Ekbote, Midgule and Dhamdhere it means Cheif minister Devendra Fadnavis is pressurizing police. He is trying to cover up the matter.
4) after Bhima-Koregao riots none of the dalit families were given protecting even after continuous demand. But now police is given rifle laden police to Ashok Athawale and Suresh Sakat it means they agree that they are under threat.
Conclusion:- Suresh Sakat and Ashok Athawale are social activists. On 1st January hindutwawadis called for a strike (bandh) but Athawale and Sakat didn’t participate in it. Rather they went to Bhima-Koregao and organised blood donation camp and food donation camp there. They also organised a ‘abhiwadan rally’ and also offered pushpachakra on the site. Also they rescued women trapped in the riot hit area. Therefore hindutwawadis connected to Bhide-Ekbote targeted them and burnt their houses. Pooja gave their names in the statement and therefore they killed Pooja so that Sakats leave the village.
1) The main master mind of Bhima-KoregaoN riots Manohar Bhide must be immediately arrested.
2) All those names mentioned in the FIR regarding Pooja murder case including Dhamdhere the mastermind must be booked under Section 302, immediately.
3) All those responsible for burning the house and shops of Athawale and Sakat must be immediately arrested.
4) All affected people of the Bhima-Koregao riots should immediately get the compensation.
5) police officers Ganesh More and Galande must be booked for being hands in gloves with the perpetrators and immediately should be suspended.