A Dalit youth in the temple town of Shirdi in Maharashtra was crushed to death for allegedly having an Ambedkar song as his mobile ringtone. Police have arrested four of the eight assailants who were allegedly involved in the brutal assault of the 21-year-old youth in Shirdi town of Ahmednagar district last week.
Two assailants were nabbed from Goa, one from Pune and the fourth from Shirdi itself, an official from Shirdi police station said.
Those arrested were identified as Vishal Kote, Rupesh Wadekar, S Wadekar and Sunil Jadhav. Four other accused involved in the attack were still absconding, police said.
On May 16 at around 2 PM, Sagar Shejwal, a nursing student, who was in Shirdi to attend a wedding, was sitting in a local beer shop with his two cousins when he got a call on his cellphone.
On hearing the ringtone, “Kara kitihi halla, majboot Bhimacha killa” (Shout all you want, Bhim’s fortress is strong), which was in praise of Ambedkar’s work for Dalits, eight youths sitting there got agitated and asked him to switch it off, police said.
An altercation followed and the assailants hit Sagar with a beer bottle and started kicking and punching him. Then they dragged him out, put him on a motorcycle and took him away to a nearby forest, Police said.
His body, which was later found near Shingve village on the evening of May 16, bore marks of it being crushed under a two wheeler, police said, adding he was also crushed with a stone.
The assailants belong to the dominant Maratha and OBC communities, and allegedly ran their bike repeatedly over Sagar’s body, mutilating it. According to police, Sagar’s mobile was missing now, but the CCTV footage of the incident in the beer shop was available.
The assailants have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 109 (punishment of abetment) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 (2) (v) and 3 (1) (x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.