A group of villagers from Kopardi, where a minor Maratha girl was raped and murdered last year setting off series of protests, took part in the rally on Wednesday. At Azad Maidan, they said they were seeking action against false case filed under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and that they would press for amendments to the Act to stop its misuse.
Satish Sudrik, Kopardi’s sarpanch, came with around 450 people. According to Sudrik, recently, a false case had been filed against more than 100 people from the village under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Sudrik said a woman whose husband was killed in 2015 did not file a complaint after she was threatened with a case under the act. Following the Kopardi rape and murder incident, emboldened by the Maratha community’s unity, the woman came forward and demanded an inquiry into her husband’s death.
“A probe was ordered subsequently. However, the accused were angered by it and attacked and robbed her in June this year. Later, the accused filed a case against more than 100 people in the village,” Sudrik said, adding that one person from the Maratha community had to spend eight days behind bars only to be granted bail. “The High Court, while granting the bail, said it cannot be a case under the atrocities act,” Sudrik said.
Gorakh Dalvi, the district president of Sambhaji Brigade in Ahmednagar, claimed that the misuse of the act continues. “Amendments are required to stop such misuse,” said Dalvi.