Koregaon Bhima violence: PMC rents two flats to Dalit victims’ families

 Dalit families have been protesting against the state government outside the district collectorate for its inaction in rehabilitating them after their property became a target in the aftermath of the Koregaon Bhima riots on January 1.

pune Updated: Jun 13, 2018 16:26 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
koregaon bhima,violence,dalit
Siddhartha Dhende, (second from left), Pune deputy mayor, handing over the official order to Ashok Athawale’s family on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Pune municipal corporation (PMC) has allotted two flats on a rental basis to temporarily rehabilitate two Dalit families of Pooja Sakat and Dalit entrepreneur Ashok Athawale. The decision was taken by PMC commissioner Saurabh Rao after union minister of state for social justice, Ramdas Athawale, made the request of Pune deputy mayor Siddhartha Dhende.

Pooja Sakat, the 19-year-old Dalit girl was an important witness of the violence which ensued on January 1 at Bhima Koregaon. Pooja Sakat’s body was found floating in a well near her family’s temporary house in Vada, near Bhima Koregoan on April 21.

Pooja allegedly committed suicide and her family have allegedly been threatened by the suspects involved in torching her house on January 2 . Her family members who recently converted to Buddhism alleged that Pooja was murdered by the right wing forces as she was an important witness in the house burning case.

Ashok Athawale’s shop was also burnt down in the violence at Bhima Koregaon.

Dalit families have been protesting against the state government outside the district collectorate for its inaction in rehabilitating them after their property became a target in the aftermath of the Koregaon Bhima riots on January 1.

The allocation letter was given to the family heads by resident deputy collector Rajendra Muthe and deputy mayor Siddhartha Dhende on Tuesday. Also present on the occasion were state general secretary of the Republican Party of India (RPI) Balasaheb Janrao and city office bearers Shailesh Chavan, Mahipal Waghmare and Ashok Shirole.

Both the families have been facing social boycott and fear of reprisal attacks in Bhima Koregaon, following which armed police security had been provided to Pooja’s brother Jaideep and father Suresh Sakat.

Their houses were set on fire and the families had no house to live on their own after which Athawale gave instructions that they must be given temporary shelter till permanent residential staying arrangements are made.

The familes will now be staying in PMC chawl No 5 located in Kasba peth, where they have to pay a nominal rent of Rs 1 for 11 months. The electricity bill will have to be paid by the families respectively, stated the order issued by Rao.

First Published: Jun 13, 2018 16:16 IST