Over 140 people, including members of four WhatsApp groups, have been arrested by the Maharashtra Police in connection with rioting and arson in Nashik and adjoining town of Trimbakeshwar after a minor was allegedly abused by a teenager earlier this week.
Amon the arrested was local BJP corporator Pavan Pawar, on charges of attempt to murder and rioting. “Pawar and his brother have been slapped with a stringent charge as he assaulted a DCP rank officer from the Nashik Police when the curfew was imposed,” said a senior official of Nashik Police.
Meanwhile, the Dalit families who had fled Talegaon following the incident have told the police that they would return by Saturday.
Most of the 143 arrests were made by Nashik Rural Police. They arrested 108 people and 35 people were arrested by Nashik Police. Nashik Rural Police registered 27 cases including 12 under Prevention of Atrocities (POA) and Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Acts. “Of the 108 arrests by Nashik Rural Police, one is of a person who sent an inflammatory message pertaining to the alleged rape case that incited people.
He has been booked under certain sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act,” Superintendent of Police, Ankush Shinde told The Indian Express.
When asked about Dalit families returning to Talegaon, Shinde said they indicated they would return on Saturday. “On Friday, many of them visited their homes and after assessing the situation assured us they will return with families on Saturday,” Shinde said.
Nashik Police, which arrested 35 people, are on the lookout for 72 more. “The arrests were made after studying CCTV footage, video recordings and statements of eyewitness. We have identified 72 and teams are on the lookout for them. The arrested were produced in a local court,” Nashik Police Commissioner Ravindra Singhal said.
Nashik Police have registered 20 cases under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and Section 135 of the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act. Meanwhile police lifted curfew from Friday morning and plans to revoke the suspension of mobile internet service on Saturday provided the situation is under control. The ban was imposed since Tuesday after law and order issues in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.