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Victim Of Bhima Koregaon Violence Found Dead, Prakash Ambedkar Claims Murder

Pooja Sakat, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was under pressure to withdraw the names of the culprits who had torched her house on January 1, her family alleged.

Pune, Apr 23  A 19-year-old Dalit woman, whose house had been burnt during the violence at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district earlier this year, was found dead inside a well yesterday, with Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar today claiming it appeared to be a “murder”, The Wire reported.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, said it seemed to be a case of murder.

The body of Pooja Sakat, who belonged to a Dalit community, was found inside a well near her house in Bhima Koregaon village yesterday morning. A day earlier her family had registered a complaint that she was missing, a senior police officer said today.

Her family alleged that some persons, whom she had named as culprits in her statement to the police after the house was torched on January 1, were threatening and pressurising her to withdraw her statement.

The police registered a case of abetment of suicide under IPC section 306 and offences under the Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, but no one has been arrested yet, the officer said, while not disclosing the accused’s names.

There were no injury marks on her body, the officer said. No suicide note was recovered, and further probe was on, he added.

Dalits visiting the War Memorial at Bhima Koregaon for commemorating the bicentenary of an 1818 victory of the East India Company over the Peshwa’s forces came under attack on January 1 this year. One person was killed and property worth crores of rupees was damaged.

Sakat family’s house was burnt during the violence and the family is living in a rented house since then, the police officer said.

Dalit groups commemorate the 1818 battle as the East India Company’s army consisted of Mahars, a Dalit community, who defeated the upper-caste Peshwa’s forces. However, some Hindutva organisations had opposed the commemoration this time.


(with PTI inputs)

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