Activists of various organisations led by noted social leader Dr Baba Adhav will take out a protest march on April 12 to condemn the incident, in which a brick kiln owner allegedly made a Dalit worker eat human excreta following a quarrel at Jambhe village in Mulshi taluka on March 13.
The worker, Sunil Anil Pawale (22), who is from the Scheduled Caste Matang community, had lodged a FIR at Hinjewadi police station. Subsequently, Pimpri Chinchwad police arrested brick kiln owner Sandip Pawar (42), who belongs to the upper caste Maratha community. Pawar was, however, released on bail a few days later. Upset, social organisations have demanded that police move the Bombay High Court and challenge the bail order passed by a lower court.
Police said that they had already started the process to challenge the bail order in the High Court. Assistant Police Commissioner Shridhar Jadhav said, “The bail order was passed on March 25. We immediately initiated the procedure to challenge it in the High Court.”
Pawale is from Osmanabad and worked at Pawar’s brick kiln for the last two years. His family too lived on the brick kiln premises but has left following the incident. In the police complaint, Pawale stated that he and other family members were sitting at the brick kiln after lunch on March 13 when, around 2 pm, Pawar came and asked them to resume work. After a dispute, Pawar allegedly thrashed Pawale and his father and abused them. Pawale also abused him. Pawar then allegedly asked his wife to bring human excreta in a pot. He even threatened to hit his wife with a farm weapon if she didn’t. According to the complaint, he was then forced to eat the excreta.
After the incident, Pawale’s family moved into his aunt’s house in Wakad. Then with the help of an organisation, Help of People, he lodged the FIR against the brick kiln owner under sections 323, 504 of the IPC and sections of the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Police arrested Pawar on March 14.
Pawar’s family has denied all allegations. “We are operating the brick kiln for about 15 years and no worker has ever made any complaints against us. My brother questioned Pawale because it was time for work and they were just sitting. But Sunil was drunk and used abusive language against my mother. There was a dispute and Sunil may have eaten excreta on his own under the influence. My brother never forced him to do so,” Savita Bodke, sister of Pawar, had told this newspaper before.
On April 7, activists of various organisations held a meeting to firm up the agitation. Activist Sanjay Dabhade said, “About 15 organisations will stage protests at the district collectorate on April 12 led by Dr Baba Adhav. The victim’s family will also participate in the protest. This is a serious incident. Police should investigate the case properly and move the High Court, challenging the bail granted to the accused. The government should ensure that there are no lapses during trial. Also, the government should support and rehabilitate the victim’s family.”