Immediate arrest of the accused and speedy trial of the atrocity case
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Immediate arrest of the accused and speedy trial of the atrocity case, Beed district, Maharashtra, India
The aim of this petition is to draw attention both at national and international level towards the negligence observed by the police department in making an immediate arrest of the culprit Bhimrao Pokale and deliver justice to the oppressed Kale family belonging to Scheduled Caste residing at Pothara Village in Beed taluka in Beed district, Maharashtra.
Caste oppression continues to be social phenomena mainly in rural areas of India. Despite the huge claims made about development, ‘digital India’, ‘shinning India’ by the State, the caste base discrimination, exclusion, violence and sexual abuse against the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe groups popularly called as Dalits continue to be an everyday norm of Indian social life. Following is the description of the incident of sexual abuse of along with the chronology of events that followed the incident depicting the negligence on the part of the police administration regarding the case.
Victim: Married woman (hearing and speaking impediment)
Caste: Scheduled Caste
Type of Crime: Sexual abuse and attempt to rape
F.I.R: 354,354(a)(1),354(a)(2), 323, 3(1)
Location: Pothara Village, Beed taluka, Beed district, Maharashtra.
Date and time of crime: 02 June 2017, 11 pm
Accused name: Bhimrao Pokale
Caste: Upper Caste Maratha
The victim is a married woman (hearing and speaking impediment) belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) community (a lower caste group in Maharashtra) with two children working mostly with her husband on the farm and as agricultural labour in the Pothara Village. Maratha is the dominant caste group with few households around twenty belonging to SC group (Scheduled Caste group in Maharashtra) in the village.
The incident occurs in the late night hours around 11 pm 2nd of June, 2017 Village Pothara in Beed District, Maharashtra. The victim was sleeping with her daughter inside her small thatched hut while her husband and son were sleeping outside just a few footsteps away on their farm field. The offender Bhimrao Pokale (member of an upper caste dominant family in the village) entered the house and started abusing the victim when she woke up and tried to resist him, Bhimrao gave some heavy punches on her face. On listening to the sound of scuffle her son and husband both woke up. They both saw and realise what Bhimrao Pokale was trying to do they ran towards him. In meanwhile Bhimrao noticed them, and in rush, he pushed aside the husband and ran away. The husband shouted against him and along with his son ran after Bhimrao. However, Bhimrao escaped in the dark. The offender Bhimrao Pokale has a history of abusive behaviour and on several occasions beaten up by the women in and around the village. Most of the people recognise Bhimrao as a common threat to the safety of women in and around the villages. Despite this fact, it is surprising that the police are least bothered to arrest him immediately.
Chronology of events after the atrocity committed:
1. 3rd of June: The victim family along with the relatives look around the place for Bhimrao but could not find him. The victim’s family filed a First Information Report (F.I.R) with the local Neknoor police station in Beed Taluka, Beed district. The concerned police officer at the police station did not register the case under atrocity act despite the fact that the victim knew the caste of the victim.
2. 4th of June: A new F.I.R filed provided with the oral statement of the victim. However, even this time police did not register the case as an atrocity case. The police did not put up appropriate section mentioning the crime. The crime reported under the section 3(1) under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity Act) 2015, (henceforth POA Act 2015). One needs to know that the appropriate section is 3(1) (w)(i) and not 3(1). On requesting the concern police inspector to mention the appropriate section, the reply given was that ‘it is a typing mistake and will be taken care off’. We again ask them to rectify it by typing another F.I.R or writing directly on the F.I.R mentioning the correct section with the sign of the concerned officer, but the police officer did not accept the request. The office at Neknoor station Mr Munde assured us that the offender would be soon arrested.
3. On the following days, no action was taken by the concern police officer at Neknoor station, and even any enquiry made about the progress of the case was not properly addressed by the department. The police did not make any effort to arrest the offender.
4. 9th of June: We went and handed over the written request to the concerned Superintendent of the Police(SP), Neknoor Police Station, Beed district. We asked the SP that the culprit should be behind bars as early as possible. The SP accepted our request and immediately called up the concerned police officer at the Neknoor police station and asked the officer to make the arrest soon latest by 11 pm on the same day.
5. 10th June: We again meet the Assistant Police Inspector (A.P.I) Mr Munde at the Neknoor police station and asked about the progress. API Munde mentioned that he is still looking in the case and the necessary action will be carried out immediately.
6. 11th June: we again went to the police station and asked about the status of required changes made to the F.I.R. The API Mr Munde told us that a letter has been provided along with the F.I.R and will be taken care off at the court.
7. 12th June: The API Mr Munde asks us to be present at the session court to, once again, record the statement of the victim to file a case under the provided section of POA Act, 2015. The victim, his family members and other went to the session court to, once again, record the statement. However, the staff at session court asked us that the villagers need to produce Aadhar card as id proof, this is something that the police did not inform us. The village people do not carry this id proofs unlike most of the city dwellers at least not the agricultural labour class. So we were asked to come back next day with the Aadhar cards.
8. 13th June: We went to the court, and after waiting for almost fours we got our appointment with the staff. However, they said that the concern camera man is not available to carry out the recording or is on leave so please come back next day. We asked them about the availability of the cameraman, but the staff provided no positive response.
So the case is still pending, and the police have filed no charge sheet despite the fact that it has been more than thirty days of the occurrence of the incident. After that, we have been regularly in touch for almost ten days with the SP about the arrest, but it seems that the department has made no significant progress in arresting the offender.
9. 28th June: We went to meet the District Collector at his office, Beed. Here also after a long wait, the officer allowed us few minutes to talk about our request. He said that let me know what I can do with the regarding the case? We asked him to take an interest in the case and ensure an immediate arrest. He said he would do so and sent us back.
10. 30th June: The news about the delay made by the police department got published in most of the local newspapers. It was a front page news in some of the well-known papers. Still, no action was taken by the department. Yes, the SP started scolding the junior police officer, but no concrete steps followed on the ground by the department.
11. 3rd July: A request in person was made to Chief Minister of the State (who also holds the office of Home Minister), Mantralaya, Mumbai, to look into the matters and a copy of it circulated to the concerned department. A copy of the request is submitted to Human Rights Commission, Mumbai, followed by Women and Child Welfare Department, Mumbai, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission, Mumbai.
At the moment, the victim family is still hoping for some action to be taken up by the police department on request made to the Chief Minister of the State. The family is now seating on an agitation at Collector Office, Beed district demanding an immediate arrest of the accused Bhimrao Pokale.
On the other hand, the village leaders (mostly Bhimrao family members and other dominant caste members) are making every possible attempt to settle the case in the community not affecting 'the harmony of the village'. The victim family members have been approached by the village elders to negotiate and withdraw the F.I.R. Since the family has decided to go ahead with the case, the village leaders are now approaching the officials in the police department and looking out for other possible avenues to pressurise the family to withdraw the case.
You support matters:
In light of the biased approach of the police and district administration, increasing social pressure by the upper caste villagers is drastically affecting the everyday life of the victim family members in the village. Please extend your support by signing the petition to support the victim family in the struggle against the oppressive caste system and biased State administration. Your support will ensure immediate arrest of the culprit Bhimrao Pokale and speedy trial of the case ensuring justice to the family.
Mr. Vinayak Kale (TISS Alumni, Mumbai)
Baliram Nade (Social Activist, Beed district, Maharashtra)
Mr.Shahdeo Kale (Law student, Mumbai)
Dr. Suhas Bhasme (Researcher, ATREE, Bangalore)
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 9702674530, 8830939545
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