One held but cops refuse to invoke SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Five years after Madhukar Ghadge, a Dalit who decided to dig his own well, was allegedly brutally murdered by 12 caste Hindus of Kulkajai village in Satara district, his nephew and the sole murder witness Viabhav Ghadge was brutally attacked on January 22 by three persons at the same village.
While the Dhaliwada police have arrested the prime accused Navnath Kapse, the other two assailants are still at large. Kapse was remanded to police custody till January 30. But incidentally, the police have refused to invoke the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the case.
Vaibhav, a postgraduate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, had got married two days before the incident. He was on his way to the village temple when three persons on a motorbike stopped him and his wife and attacked them.
Tushar, Viabhav’s cousin and son of Madhukar, said the spot where the incident took place was isolated. “They dragged both my brother and sister-in-law and asked them to hand over all the gold jewellery they were wearing. After that they attacked them,” he said.
He said it is clear that Vaibhav and his wife were attacked because of the old feud. “Still the police has not applied the the Atrocities Act,” Tushar said.
Shahid Pathan, the investigating officer of the case, said there was no apparent reason to apply those sections of law. “The family did not insist that we apply those sections. We are still investigating the matter,” he said.
It all started in 2007 when Madhukar Ghadge, a railway employee, decided to dig a well. “We belong to the Mang community. Our neighbours could not fathom that a Dalit could have their own well. When my father did not heed to their threats, 12 men from the village ganged up and murdered him on April 26, 2007,” Tushar said. But the case ended up in an acquittal and an appeal is pending before the Bombay High Court. “Vaibhav is a complainant in the case and also the sole witness,” Tushar said.
Currently, Vaibhav, who has suffered several injuries on his head, is recovering in a local hospital at Satara. “They [assailants] threw my brother and sister-in-law from a 300-ft-high cliff. While Vaibhav lost consciousness, his wife somehow managed to drag herself near him and then alerted us,”