A day after violence broke out in Nashik’s Trimbakeshwar town following the alleged rape of a minor girl, police had to suspend mobile internet services for two days. The move came after police claimed that messenger service Whatsapp was extensively used by protesters on Sunday to spread the word and gather in larger numbers, blocking the highway through most of Sunday.
“Mobile internet services have been suspended until Tuesday as a precautionary measure, to ensure that rumor mongering doesn’t spread,” said Nashik city Commissioner of Police Ravindra Singhal.
He added that Section 37(1)(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was invoked along with sections of the Maharashtra (Mumbai) police act.
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Meanwhile, a fresh incident of stone pelting was reported on Nashik Road on Monday. Police immediately deployed personnel in the area. Preventive detentions of members of both communities, various Dalit groups and the Marathas, were also undertaken.
The protests began after a 15 year old boy allegedly sexually assaulted a 5 year old girl in Talegaon village near Trimbakeshwar town. As news of the crime spread, Maratha groups began to call for an agitation. The girl belongs to the Maratha community, while the accused boy belongs to a Dalit caste.
The police registered a case of rape against the teenager and also invoked sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO)” Act, 2012. The victim is currently admitted at Nashik civil hospital and has been provided security by the local police.
Marathas have been staging massive ‘silent’ rallies across the state since the July incident in Kopardi, Ahmednagar district, in which a Maratha girl was raped and murdered. The accused in that case were Dalits.