Women rights activist Trupti Desai was on Thursday booked under the Prevention of Atrocities Act for allegedly assaulting a 33-year-old ‘former member’ of her organisation on June 27 near Balewadi stadium here, the police said. The complainant, Vijay Makasare, a doctor from neighbouring Amhednagar district, had alleged that Desai, who heads the ‘Bhumata Ranragini Brigade’, her husband Prashant and two other persons thrashed him after he fell out with Desai.
Other persons named in the complaint lodged with the Hinjewadi police station are identified as Satish Desai, Kantilal Gaware and two unidentified persons. Makasare stated that he was approached by Desai a few months ago and asked him to join her organisation.
“I accepted her request and joined the organisation as I wanted to work for the society. However, later I realised that the functioning of the outfit was not transparent and the intentions to run the organisation was malafied, so I decided to part my ways, which irked Desai,” Makasare said in his complaint.
Quoting the complaint, a police official said Desai asked Makasare to take her to Mumbai in his car for some “important work” on June 27.
“My car was waylaid by Desai’s husband Prashant and four others near Balewadi stadium on Pune-Mumbai Highway. Desai snatched my two phones saying they contained a crucial evidence against her,” Makasare stated in his complaint.
He alleged Desai, Prashant and others thrashed him and snatched his gold chain worth Rs 15,000 and Rs 27,000 in cash he was carrying with him. Makasare also accused Desai of passing derogatory remarks regarding his caste and threatening him of dire consequences if he dared to raise his voice against her outfit.
“We have registered a case against Desai, her husband and four others under section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 394 (robbery), 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (criminal intimidation) and relevant sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989,” the Hinjawadi police station official said.
He said the Desai couple and others will be summoned for recording their statements. When contacted, the activist refuted the allegations, saying Makasare was trying to malign her image.
“It was Makasare who approached me requesting membership to my outfit. However, we denied him the membership after knowing about his character. He is now trying to malign my image by levelling such baseless allegations. He filed the case out of a grudge over his non-induction into the organisation,” she said.
Desai was instrumental in leading an agitation of women in November 2015 for gaining the entry to the core area of famous Lord Shani shrine in Ahmednagar district.
She subsequently led similar protests at the Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur and later at Lord Shiva temple in Trimbakeshwar near Nashik.
Last year, Desai made an attempt to enter the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai, but beat a retreat after an angry mob prevented her from proceeding further. On May 12, 2016, she made a successful second attempt and entered the dargah under tight security but not in the inner sanctum where women are not allowed.