The Pimpri Chinchwad Police have arrested the owner of a brick kiln in Jambhe village in Mulshi taluka of Pune district under the Scheduled Caste and Scehduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly making a Dalit labourer eat human excreta following an argument at the work place on Wednesday afternoon.
The labourer, Sunil Anil Pawale (22), who is from the Scheduled Caste Matang community, has lodged the first information report (FIR) in this case at the Hinjewadi police station. Police have identified the accused as Sandip Pawar (42), a resident of Jambhe, who belongs to the Maratha community. Pawar and his family members have denied the allegations leveled against them.
Pawale’s family, which hails from Paranda in Osmanabad, has been living in Pune for many years. In his complaint, Sunil Pawale stated that he and his family members have been working at Pawar’s brick kiln for the last two years and living at the same place. Pawale said the incident took place around 2 pm on Wednesday. He and his family members — father Anil, mother Savita and grandparents — were sitting at the brick kiln after having their lunch, when Pawar came and asked them to start their work, stated Pawale.
“We told Pawar that we had just had our lunch and would start working in some time. But Pawar got angry and thrashed me and my father and abused us in very bad words. So, I also abused him back. Pawar then asked his wife Deepali to bring human excreta in a pot. He even threatened to hit his wife with a farm weapon if she didn’t bring the excreta. So, she brought excreta in a pot and kept it near him. I kept quiet. But he got angry and thrashed me. So, I got afraid and ate some excreta….” Pawale has stated in the police complaint. “The incident took place in the presence of other workers at the brick kiln. Nobody came forward to help us. I was scared after the incident. So, I left the place with my family and went to my aunt’s house in Wakad. Our belongings are still at the brick kiln. We had taken a loan of Rs 55,000 from Pawar and repaid most of it. Still, he behaved inhumanly with us. Pawar knew that we are Dalits. We are not going to work there henceforth,” Pawale told The Indian Express.
After hearing about the alleged incident, Pawale’s uncle spoke to activists of a social organisation ‘Help of People’. Swapnil Jadhav of ‘Help of People’ said, “We took Sunil and his family to the police station on Thursday afternoon. Police then lodged FIR against Sandip Pawar under sections 323, 504 of IPC and sections of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. This is a serious case and we demand a fair investigation.”
Police arrested Pawar late on Thursday evening. His family members, who live in Jambhe, claimed that Pawale had lodged a false complaint.
“We have been operating the brick kiln for about 15 years and no labourer has ever made any complaints against us. Sunil Pawale and his family have also been working here for two years. My brother questioned them because it was time for work and they were just sitting there. But Sunil was drunk and used abusive language about my mother… During the dispute, Sunil may have eaten excreta on his own under the influence of alcohol. My brother never forced him to do so,” said Savita Bodke, sister of accused Sandip Pawar.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ashwini Rakh Kedar, who is investigating the case, said, “Based on the complaint, we have arrested accused Sandip Pawar. ”