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Former RPI man killed; political rivalry suspected

Tension prevailed in Dahisar East today over the murder of a former RPI activist on Monday evening,hours before he was to join the Bahujan Mahasangh Party.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 4, 2009 1:12:41 am

Tension prevailed in Dahisar East today over the murder of a former RPI activist on Monday evening,hours before he was to join the Bahujan Mahasangh Party. Yeshwant Othle (42) and an associate,Chandrakant Shinde,were attacked when they were on their way to buy badges to attend the Mahasangh sabha (meeting) when they were attacked with meat choppers,police said.

Othle,was attacked on the head and died on the spot. Shinde was injured in the attack.

A formal announcement of Yeshwant,his uncle Ramesh Othle,and many of their supporters joining the Mahasangh was supposed to have been made at the sabha,which was called off after the murder. Police are investigating whether rivalry between workers of the RPI and Bahujan Mahasangh could be the murder motive.

Dahisar police say a power struggle had been on between the RPI and the Mahasangh for some weeks now over Ramesh and Yeshwant joining the Mahasangh along with followers. “They were supposed to make the official announcement at the sabha,which Prakash Ambedkar,the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar was supposed to attend,” police sources said.

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Senior Police Inspector,Dahisar police station,Ramesh Keni said,“Hours before the sabha was to start,Yeshwant went with Shinde to buy badges for partyworkers on Bharuch road. They were walking to the shop,when two men attacked them from behind with choppers. Othle was attacked on the head,while Shinde was hurt on the left arm. The attackers fled.”

Shinde alerted Bahujan Mahasangh workers who took him to Rohit hospital. Othle was rushed to Bhagwati hospital where he was declared brought dead. Shinde said,“They attacked us from behind. The attackers were so swift that I could not make out their faces. Had they attacked from the front,Yeshwant and I may have been able to defend ourselves.”

The cops are looking at another angle in the case. Keni said,“We have called a few RPI workers for questioning as we suspect the attack may have been the result of political rivalry. Another angle we are probing is Yeshwant’s dispute with some builders in the area over slum rehabilitation. We have also called a few builders to find out.”

When contacted,Prakash Ambedkar said,“The attack was jointly perpetrated by the builders with whom Othle had a dispute and people from the RPI. This shows how political parties and the construction mafia have joined hands.”

However,RPI Mumbai president Gautam Sonawane said,“Our party had no dispute with Othle and if the police have rounded up some of our workers,I am sure they are just conducting enquiries. Besides,many of Othle’s friends and relatives are still in the RPI. So the question of attacking him does not arise. We ourselves feel the attackers should be arrested as soon as possible.”

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