Pune: The relatives of Rahul Babaji Phatangade, the youth killed on January 1 during the violence that broke out at Bhima Koregoan near Pune, Maharashtra, have demanded that lawyer Ujjwal Nikam be appointed as the public prosecutor for the trial. Phatangade’s family, along with members of Maratha Kranti Morcha, held a press conference to call for speedy justice for all those who have suffered losses in the violence.
Members of the Maratha Kranti Morcha also said that the government should give a time frame within which they would complete the investigation and give out compensations.
Among those present at the press conference was Phatangade’s cousin Tejas Dhawale. “We want the police and government to arrest those responsible for Rahul’s death as soon as possible. We also want Ujjwal Nikam to be appointed as the public prosecutor to represent the government against those caused the violence and killed Rahul,” Dhawale said. “We are organising a prayer meet on January 10 in our village Kanhur Mesai (in Shirur taluka) on the tenth day of Rahul’s death. We invite all of you to come.”
Dhawale also said that he does not believe the Sambhaji Bhide is behind the violence that broke out in Bhima Koregaon. As of now, he said, there is no clarity about who killed Rahul and whether any right-wing or Dalit organisation was involved. “The guilty should be punished,” he said.
When asked about whether his family is associated with any organisation, Dhawale said that they only participated in the morchas held by Maratha Kranti Morcha for reservation and over the Kopardi rape case.
So far, he says, the police have not shared anything with the family about who killed his brother. “They are just saying that investigation is on track and that they would arrest the culprit soon. Even Girish Bapat, guardian minister of Pune district, just enquired and promised of speedy justice. We just came to know that post mortem report says that Rahul was assaulted from behind. He was wearing a T-shirt with Shivaji’s face embossed on it, but he was not associated with any group. Many of the youth in the village wear the T-shirt,” Dhawale said.
As false news continues to circulate on social media, Dhananjay Jadhav of Maratha Kranti Morcha has said that a post that calls for a bandh on January 10 is fake. “We have not called for any bandh,” he said. “The Maratha Kranti Morcha demands that the government should commit a time frame within which the investigation would be completed so that people who lost properties or lives are compensated. If the government fails to do so, we will decide our next course of action.”
Abhaysingh Adsul, another member, said, “We want the government to give Rs 25 lakh as compensation to Phatangade’s family. As Rahul was fond of fitness and regularly went to the gym, the government should open a gym in his village.”
Meanwhile, the Pune rural police has arrested 12 persons in connection with the riots in Bhima Koregaon. As of now, the total arrests stand at 27, of which three are juveniles who have been released on bail.
“Pune rural police has arrested six people for creating riots, three for attempt to murder and three who are juvenile. The juvenile accused have got bail while the remaining nine have been sent to police custody till January 11,” said Pune police’s public relations officer Ramkrushna Patil.
The police is also finding it difficult to write reports on the property that was damaged as the number plates of many cars are not visible. It is also reportedly organising meetings between Maratha and Dalit groups in the affected villages – Bhima Koregaon, Sanaswadi and Vadhu Budruk.